1986 - Decision Support Systems: A Decade in Perspective

Noordwijkerhout, The Netherlands, 16-18 June

Proceedings edited by E.R. McLean & H.G. Sol.

Title Pages
Elam, J. J., Huber, G. P. and Hurt, M. E.

In the 1970's, a new philosophy of how computers could be used to support managerial decision making emerged under the name Decision Support Systems (DSS). This philosophy embodied unique, exciting ideas for how such systems should be designed and implemented and held much promise for improving decision making in organizations. Today, DSS has become established in the main stream of information systems research and practice. The purpose of this paper is to describe and assess the DSS literature published from 1975 through 1985. This description is based on an examination of 211 articles published in 20 refereed journals.

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Sprague, R. H.
Blanning, R. W.

An important purpose of the research being done on DSS is to develop a framework for information management that is as independent as possible of the way in which the information is stored and processed. A framework that appears promising in this regard is one based on the mathematics of relations. Initially proposed fifteen years ago by computer scientists to provide a theoretical foundation for database management, it has led to an established research literature and a growing number of implemented database management systems. A similar framework was proposed five years ago for the management of decision models, and more recently for the management of assertions – that is, statements in a two-valued sentential logic. In this paper, we describe the state of the art in relational model and assertion management and examine its applicability to another type of information – that found in knowledge-based decision support systems. This, the purpose of the paper is to outline a possible comprehensive relational framework for (1) stored data, (2) decision models, (3) logical assertions, and (4) certain types of expert knowledge.

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Wuwongse, V. and de Veyra Paulo, R.

A decision support system for the allocation of scholarships at the Asian Institute of Technology (AIT) has been designed and implemented on an MS-DOS microcomputer employing micro-PROLOG language. The system driven by a menu each module of which relates to a single major stage in the allocation process. It integrates many facilities ranging from routine data manipulation to functions demanding a certain degree of human intelligence. It is able to produce report-formatted display, coloured bar graphs and other visual aids on the screen. Its allocation module will answer questions relating to the system's procedures and reasoning when a certain student has been given a grant from a certain donor. The system has been run using actual AIT scholarship data for the year 1983-1984, and its output has been compared with the manual allocation of the institute's donor officer. It produced a fair scholarship distribution and was able to simplify the officer's task by enabling her to try out with little effort different grant combinations.

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Widmeyer, G. R. and Lee, R. M.
Keywords:Databases Semantic Nets Multicriteria Decision Making Logic Programming

The concept of an electronic marketplace is introduced whereby consumers may browse through a structured database giving product offerings and local supply outlets. We consider the nature of software to facilitate the shopping process developing a concept of similarity between generic products using a semantic net structure. The search is guided by specified user preferences. A prototype implementation, using Prolog, is described.

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Bosman, A.

The means for support of decision-makers are defined in the domain of decision support systems by the components of a decision support systems generator. We describe the main components of such a generator and give a critical review. There are two main points of critique. The modelling facilities are restricted and there is a lack of adequate facilities to interconnect models. Proposals are discussed to increase the effectiveness of decision support systems generators. One of these is to create a network of specific decision support systems.

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Zmud, R. W.

Research examining senior executive use of computer-based information systems by senior executives indicates that a gap exists between prescription and practice. This paper reviews the existing research on executive information behaviors, proposes design guidelines to better support these behaviors, and suggests research directions.

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Coelho, H.

The application of decision support and artificial intelligence technologies to managing R&D projects at LNEC is taken as a case study to enhance the strength of the most indispensable aspects to be considered when architecturing a DSS. A particular project was selected in order to observe the adequacy of some decision aids to give support, and also the readiness of the individuals and the organization involved to deliver convenient data and to understand and accept the DSS idea. As a consequence, we identified some factors which influence the effectiveness of the research and management action under several circumstances.

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Carlsson, S. A. and Stabell, C. B.

This paper reports on results from research on the use of spreadsheet programs for decision support. An important premise for our work is that the ease-of-use and wide diffusion of spreadsheet programs provides an opportunity to explore key issues relevant to the design and impact of decision support systems (DSS). The combined power and architectural integrity of the dynamic spreadsheet helps us both formulate and investigate a broad range of issues related to ease-of-use, use and usefulness of a DSS. Our work is currently focused on the relationship between the user-model of a DSS and system use. We distinguish between different levels and perspectives on both user-models and system use, and report here on work that explores the potential of a “keystroke-level”-like (Card, Moran & Newell, 1980) model of system use in the context of spreadsheet-based DSS.

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Brookes, C. H. P.

Requirements specification is a most important aspect of the KBDSS project since, in an iterative development process, it sets the initial direction and thereafter guides the evolution of the system. This evolution must be both cumulative, to avoid the need for extensive re-learning, and to ensure all major potential KBDSS benefits are achieved. A procedure is outlined which, it is postulated, achieves these goals. In addition, It facilitates the synergistic use of hard and soft data, and the integration of MIS and expert system concepts within the overall specification.

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Jarke, M.

Office systems should provide information and communication support at several levels: clerical, design, and decision making. At the decision making level, multiperson DSS can be utilized to facilitate or replace meetings. This paper reviews contributions made by the major technical DSS reference disciplines to the development of distributed multiperson DSS during the past decade, and points out directions of current development.

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Gray, P.
Stabell, C. B.

This paper reviews and compares four distinct decision support system (DSS) perspectives or “schools”: Decision analysis, decision research, decision calculus, and adaptive design. Each school represents a relatively coherent architectural perspective for DSS development: all four the development and use of computer-based tools that support and aid managers in their role as decision makers. They differ, however, in terms of the nature of the decision situation envisaged, the phase of the decision process considered, the primary aims for a DSS development effort, the nature of the learning to be achieved and the phase of the development process that is emphasized. The purpose of the review is an attempt to establish a more constructive approach to understanding the central tenets and challenges for DSS. At the same time, the unique concerns and distinct contributions of the different schools tells us something about how difficult it is to define an approach that can satisfy all considerations and all demands.

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Fjeldstad, O. D. and Konsynski, B. R.

Emerging technologies, increased and varied user interests and radical changes in the nature of applications give rise to the opportunity and necessity to re-examine the proper apportionment of cognitive responsibilities in human/system dialogues. We are able now to bring to question the effective assignment of functional tasks across the multiple processors involved in such dialogues. Examples illustrate the opportunities afforded by such an examination. A framework is presented that illustrates many of the tradeoffs that occur in a reapportionment activity. A knowledge-based architecture is proposed to facilitate both static and dynamic decisions.

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Humphreys, P. and Berkeley, D.

Organisational knowledge appropriate for supporting strategic decision making and problem handling in organisations is described under three perspectives (an activity perspective, a resource perspective and a job satisfaction/work design perspective). A cognitive analysis of responsibilities associated with four levels of management within each perspective is linked to a discussion of key capabilities required from Decision Support Systems to provide effective support at each level. In managing organisational change, however, it is essential to be able to integrate knowledge across perspectives, and so a general procedural schema is described which can facilitate this process in practical applications.

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Keen, P. G. W.