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Group Decision Support System

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2007-01-18 09:39:12     
Article by Sharon White

A Group Decision Support System (GDSS) offers a viable and attractive alternative over the traditional, oral meeting environment and in many situations, has revolutionized the concept of meetings. Interest and research in the area of GDSS is growing due to the systems' ability to enhance group productivity, Marketing Strategies and interaction. Group Decision Support System is a system that combines communication, computing, and decision support technologies to facilitate formulation and solution of unstructured problems by a group of people. There has been a general lack of consensus about what exactly constitutes a Group Decision Support System, however. GDSSs have evolved beyond their original emphasis on decision-making, and new terms such as Electronic Meeting System, Computer Supported Collaborative Work and Groupware are also used to describe the technology.

Most GDSSs are designed to help groups become more productive by supporting the exchange of ideas, opinions, and preferences within the group. Group participants using a typical GDSS may be seated at microcomputer terminals arranged in a semi-circle or U-shape and connected via a Local Area Network (although alternative meeting styles are also available as discussed in the following section). A group leader or facilitator stands in front of the group and controls the meeting by starting and stopping the software, preparing questionnaires, and performing other administrative tasks. Meeting participants communicate with each other and the facilitator via a computer network and participate in brainstorming, voting, ranking, and other procedures to accomplish group tasks.

In addition, the software may provide access to databases, models, statistical analysis packages, and a host of other tools.

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