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Overview

Group Decision Support Systems (GDSS) are a class of electronic meeting systems, a collaboration technology designed to support meetings and group work .[1] GDSS are distinct from computer supported cooperative work (CSCW) technologies as GDSS are more focused on task support, whereas CSCW tools provide general communication support . Group Decision Support Systems are categorized within a time-place paradigm. Different features may be required for synchronous vs asynchronous communication, as well as local vs distant.

Introduction
Group Decision Support Systems (GDSS) are a class of electronic meeting systems, a collaboration technology designed to support meetings and group work .GDSS are distinct from computer supported cooperative work (CSCW) technologies as GDSS are more focused on task support, whereas CSCW tools provide general communication support. The following are the major characteristics of a Group Decision Support Systems:

Its aim is to support the process of the group decision makers by offering automation of sub processes by using tools of information technology

It is a specially designed information system, not merely a configuration of already-existing system components. It can be designed to address one type of problem or different group-level organizational decisions.

It encourages generation of ideas, resolution of conflicts, and freedom of expression. It contains built-in mechanisms which discourage growth of the negative group behaviors, like groupthink and destructive conflict miscommunication. The first generation of Group Decision Support Systems was designed to support face-to-face meetings in a decision room. Today, support is provided mostly over the Web to virtual groups.

The group can meet at the same time or at different times by using e-mail, sending documents, and reading transaction logs. GDSS is particularly useful as the controversial decisions should be made. Group Decision Support Systems applications require a facilitator when done in one room or a coordinator or leader when done using virtual meetings. GDSS could enhance the decision-making process in several methods or ways.

GDSS vs DSS
GDSS and DSS are computer based information system that may assist decision making processes within a group, company or office. By using GDSS and DSS, the company can speed up decision making process allowing more time for employees to focus on particular issues. Learning and training can be promoted through this system.

GDSS GDSS or Group Decision Support System is a subclass or subcategory of DSS. It is defined as a computer based information system built to support and promotes positive group decision making. GDSS has three important components: software, which consists of the database with management capabilities for group decision making. Another component is the hardware and lastly the people. The latter will include the decision making participants.

DSS Meanwhile, DSS also known as Decision Support System is meant to affect how individuals decide or process decision making. Through the use of DSS, both human capabilities and computer capacities are maximized to result to one great positive decision. The system will provide assistance for the human element and not the sole decision maker. DSS also allows customization of the programs particularly the decision making capabilities to better suit individual needs.

Difference between GDSS and DSS GDSS is a computer based information system that focuses on the group while DSS focuses on an individual for instance, the manager or the supervisor. GDSS and DSS may have similar components in terms of hardware and software structures however, GDSS has a networking
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technology that is best suited for group discussions or communication. DSS on the other hand, have technologies that are focused for a single user. GDSS maintenance involves a better system reliability and incomprehensible multi-user access compared to DSS because system failures in GDSS will involve a lot of individual. Through these programs or computer based information system, company or individual decision making capacities will be enhanced and hasten. This allows not only good communication system but also a positive outcome within a department, group, or company.

Similarities between GDSS and DSS


Both use models, data and user-friendly software Both are interactive with what-if capabilities Both use internal and external data Both allow the decision maker to take an active role Both have flexible systems Both have graphical output

Advantages of GDSS
Anonymity drive out fear leading to better decisions from a diverse hierarchy of decision makers Parallel Communication eliminate monopolizing providing increased participation, better decisions Automated record keeping no need to take notes, theyre automatically recorded Ability for virtual meetings only need hardware, software and people connected Portability - Can be set up to be portable laptop Global Potential - People can be connected across the world No need for a computer guru although some basic experience is a must

Disadvantages of GDSS
Costinfrastructure costs to provide the hardware and software/room/network connectivity can be very expensive
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Security especially true when companies rent the facilities for GDSS; also, the facilitator may be a lower-level employee who may leak information to peers

Technical Failure power loss, loss of connectivity, relies heavily on bandwidth and LAN/WAN infrastructure properly setup system should minimize this risk

Keyboarding Skills reduced participation may result due to frustration Training learning curve is present for users, varies by situation Perception of messages lack of verbal communication could lead to misinterpretation

Typical GDSS Process


1) Group Leader (and Facilitator?) select software, develop agenda 2) Participants meet (in decision room/Internet) and are given a task. 3) Participants generate ideas brainstorm anonymously 4) Facilitator organize ideas into categories (different for user-driven software) 5) Discussion and prioritization may involve ranking by some criteria and/or rating to the facilitators scale 6) Repeat Steps 3, 4, 5 as necessary 7) Reach decision 8) Recommend providing feedback on decision and results to all involved

Research

Significant research supports measuring impacts of:


Adapting human factors for these technologies, Facilitating interdisciplinary collaboration, and Promoting effective organizational learning.

In the 1980s, a commercial joint venture between IBM and the U.S. Department of Defense created a new form of software as a solution to improve the decision alignment between various branches of the armed forces. This first commercial (DOS-based) technology was developed by behavioral scientist Dr. Jerry Wagner and was called VisionQuest. In the 1990's while at the University of Texas, Austin campus, Dr. Wagner secured venture capital funding to develop new GDSS software, this time with the end goal of leveraging the Internet (which was becoming mainstream by now). The new technology was WebIQ and is now called WIQ (by ynSyte).[1] Academic work on Group Decision Support Systems was largely led in the 1980s and 1990s by the University of Minnesota (the SAMM System) and the University of Arizona (PLEXSYS, later renamed GroupSystems). The Arizona research software was spun off as Ventana Corporation (now known as GroupSystems Inc.). The University of Arizona researchers report both benefits and costs for their electronic meeting system.[2] The benefits, or process gains, from using a GDSS (over more traditional group techniques) are:

More precise communication; Synergy: members are empowered to build on ideas of others; More objective evaluation of ideas; Stimulation of individuals to increase participation; Learning: group members imitate and learn from successful behaviors of others.

The costs, or process losses, from using a GDSS (instead of more traditional group techniques) are:

More free riding; More information overload; More flaming; Slower feedback; Fewer information cues; Incomplete use of information.

However, the researchers found that GDSS over traditional group techniques limited or reduced the following process losses:

Less attention blocking Less conformance pressure Less airtime fragmentation Less attenuation blocking Less socializing Less individual domination