1988 - Organizational Decision Support Systems

Lake Como, Italy, 20-22 June

Proceedings edited by R.M. Lee & A.M. McCosh.

Title Pages
Pagani, M. and Bellucci, A.

This article consists of a presentation of the development of a DSS for Telettra SPA Top Management. Initially, a brief illustration is provided of the Company's organizational structure, since this is an important factor in defining the system's characteristics. The presentation continues with an illustration of the planning process adopted by the Company which was automated as far as possible with a DSS prototype (“TELPLAN” model), and which is used by Top Management via the Company's Strategic Planning staff. The organizational changes introduced with this type of automation are then dealt with. Lastly, a description is provided of the initiative - which is still in its experimental phase – for expanding the existing DSS in order to improve its performance and enable it to be used directly by Top Management.

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Sol, H. G. and Van De Ven, M. B. M.

In decision analysis, not much attention is paid to problems related to international transfer pricing, which is concerned with financial and fiscal implications of international transfers between companies belonging to the same multinational group of companies. In this paper a Group Decision Support System (GDSS) is described to support organisational decisionmaking with regard to international transfer pricing. Special attention is paid to the issues of integrating the GDSS in the organisation and of structuring the decision process. The three main activities of this decisionmaking process are defined as: Feasible Solution Search, Preference Ordering and Disaggregation. For these activities appropriate support tools are described.

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Swann, W. H.

Strong social and commercial trends are leading organisations towards a more collaborative style of operation with a greater emphasis on decisions being made by multi-disciplinary teams. This in turn is providing additional motivation for developing ways of improving the effectiveness of group working. In parallel with this, advances in information technology offer the opportunity to produce novel systems directed at this need. The paper discusses the background to the growing interest in group decision making and considers how it differs from the case of an individual decision maker. One of the approaches to group decision support being tried in ICI is to use a knowledge based system as a decision assistant. Experience gained through the use of one such system is described.

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Dondi, C., Migliarese, P., Moia, G. and Salamone, G.
Mumpower, J. L., Schuman, S. P. and Zumbolo, A.

The key difference between analytical mediation and more conventional approaches is its reliance on systematic, analytic, quantitatively-based techniques for facilitating negotiations. Analytic mediation was used to support labor-management negotiations. Although the specific proposals resulting from the analytical mediation intervention were not adopted, the process appears to have been contributed instrumentally to reaching final agreement. Circumstances under which analytical mediation is most likely to prove useful are discussed.

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Jelassi, M. T. and Jones, B. H.
Keywords:Negotiation Bargaining Conflict Resolution Analytical Mediation Computer Supported Negotiation Negotiation Support Systems

The emerging tendency to view negotiation as a “science” rather than an “art” on one hand, and recent technological advances in both hardware and software on the other, have stimulated interest in supporting negotiations through the use of information systems (IS) tools. These developments have raised the following questions: How can we use IS tools to help in such complicated scenarios as multi-party, multi-issue negotiations? Specifically, how would we develop negotiation support systems (NSS) that would be accepted and used by organizations? This paper tries to answer these questions by first describing the concept of analytical mediation and the stages involved in the negotiation process, as seen from a behavioral perspective. It then discusses potential computer support in pre-negotiation planning and face-to-face bargaining. Some actual case studies using computer-assisted mediation are presented, and issues for further research are highlighted.

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Vari, A.
Hahn, U. and Jarke, M.

Most existing approaches to group negotiation support emphasize one particular approach or technology at the expense of others. We propose an object-oriented architecture for group decision and negotiation support in which qualitative and quantitative, problem and process-oriented approaches can be integrated. Major features include a system architecture based on the actor model of computation, a distributed problem-solving approach with emphasis on task sharing and mutual negotiations, the modeling of group debates on the basis of argumentation theories, and the formal control of group opinion exchange by argument-based reason maintenance systems.

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Gelléri, P. and Martinez, F.
Brookes, C. H. P.

Requirements elicitation is a most important aspect of decision support projects since it sets the initial direction and thereafter guides the evolution of the system. It is proposed that requirements elicitation should be based on a decomposition of the decision support system project into a number of small pieces rather than, as is currently the case, being based on available tools and techniques which are thought may be appropriate to the problem context. The elicit methodology described in the paper has been tested in a number of real-life situations and found to provide good results. It is currently implemented in a computer-based format which is particularly useful for enhancing the communication between the target executives and the project designers.

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Bots, P. W. G. and Sol, H. G.

Organizations are dynamic systems, placed within a dynamic environment. Therefore, the development of organizational information systems is an infinite process of adaptation and redesign. Work-places in an organization should be thoroughly designed and coordinated in order to provide adequate support for the modeling and problem solving duties of information workers. Both design and coordination require new system description, analysis and design techniques.

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Kjaergaard, D.

Based primarily on a case study, this paper looks at a bank's evaluation of its customers as part of social and political processes which are intertwined with organizational problem solving, decision making and learning. These perspectives point to dilemmas – which are not adequately addressed in the literature – in connection with developing “individual” decision-support applications for highly skilled frontline personnel in large organizations.

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Motta, G.

The paper discusses the strategic design of management information systems and comments the case of a project on the management of human resources. Strategic design identifies the information strategy of a given business area, and it interconnects a management vision and an architecture of information system. The vision models the overall management idea of the business area the information system will serve. The architecture defines the information model that the analysis and design phases will develop. Since the management vision is also a matter of choice, the information model may radically differ depending on the management vision. The case considered concerns a very large company. The awareness of a substantial change of environmental factors led to a new vision of personnel as a strategic resource, and to a general review of both the management and information models. Instead of headcount reporting, the core aspects became planning of human resources, appraisal of performance, analysis of impact of environmental and innovation factors on the human resources, and, finally, sensitivity analysis of action courses. The paper includes four sections. Section one discusses the general question of the strategic design. Sections two comments the modelling of the management vision in the case considered. Section three summarizes the steps and contents of the design process. Section four comments some factors that affect the strategic design.

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Young, L. F.
Cats-Baril, W. L. and Gustafson, D. H.

This article presents a methodology to identify the information required to support policy issues that may occur in the future. The principle behind the methodology is to develop a relatively small core of generic data items that applies to a wide spectrum of issues. The methodology starts by asking a panel of experts to generate a comprehensive list of potential issues in a specific arena and a list of information items needed to analyze those issues. Then, a panel of users selects a relevant subset of issues and prioritizes the information items. Finally, on the basis of those priorities, a resource allocation plan is created by classifying the information items into four sets: the essential data set, the rapid collection data set, the periodic data set, and the low priority set. This classification achieves an optimal allocation of resources by determining which items should be collected on a regular basis, which ones should be collected only after the need arises, and which ones can be ignored. A case study is presented describing how the information needs of a commission charged with setting policy guidelines in mental health were identified. The methodology is proposed as a cost-effective approach to design information systems to support policy decisions in general.

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Zmud, R. W.
Ciborra, C. U.

Decision support systems rely on models of how managers use knowledge and information in organizational settings. Organizations can be seen as knowledge processing systems: in each type of organization knowledge is processed differently, according to the nature of relationships that tie members and the The paper sets forth a typology of organizational knowledge modes that can be of help in designing and implementing present and future organizational support systems.

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Larichev, O. I. and Petrovsky, A. B.

A conceptual model of Decision Support System is proposed. The main components of this model are “user-system” interface, block of problem analysis and structuring, decision-making block, data base, model base, and knowledge base. Problems arising in designing each of DSS blocks and examples of its successful implementation are considered.

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Silver, M. S.

While we often think of Decision Support Systems (DSS) simply as expanding managerial information-processing capabilities, we must recognize that when a decision maker relies on a particular DSS, the finite functional capabilities of that system also
restrict his or her decision-making processes. This paper defines and examines the restrictiveness attribute of DSS. The determinants of a system's restrictiveness are studied from two perspectives. First, the link from DSS features to user behavior is explored. Five ways in which the features of DSS can restrict decision-making behavior are identified. Next, the link between DSS design objectives and system restrictiveness is considered. Several objectives are identified that favor greater restrictiveness and several other objectives are identified that favor lesser restrictiveness. In designing a DSS, these two sets of objectives must be traded off against one another. Moreover, it is observed that too much or too little restrictiveness may inhibit DSS use.

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Gibson, D. V. and Ludl, E. J.

This research is based on a case study of the implementation, use and eventual demise of an executive level group decision support system (GDSS). While what happened to one particular GDSS is the subject of this paper, the research conclusion is that organizational context must always be considered an important constraint on the effective use of an executive level GDSS. The symbolic value of the GDSS is also discussed.

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Vogel, D. R., Nunamaker, J. F., George, J. F. and Dennis, A. R.

The study of Group Decision Support Systems (GDSS) has matured considerably over the past five years. The purpose of this paper is to reflect on what we have learned to date as GDSS research has progressed from framework papers to examples of use to systematic examination of impact. Issues of facility development, hardware, and software as well as group and facilitator considerations will be addressed. University of Arizona PlexCenter research activities and experiences will be used extensively to illustrate GDSS evolution and status.

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Wagner, G. R. and Nagasundaram, M.

Group Decision Support Systems continue to remain experimental after have been around for nearly a decade. This is perhaps because the focus of past research has been primarily quantitative and technological. It is suggested that the chief value of GDSS is that they help improve communication. The focus of this paper is on face to face meetings. The different phases and activities relating to a meeting are analyzed and important hardware and software components of a GDSS for face-to-face meetings outlined.

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Huber, G. P.

This paper draws on the work of organizational and communication researchers and on information systems researchers to set forth working hypotheses concerning the effects of computer assisted decision and communication support technologies on organizational decision processes and structures. While these are practical effects, of importance to administrators and their information systems advisors, the paper particularly highlights for researchers the need to re-investigate certain components of currently-accepted organization theory, as these components were developed before computer-assisted decision and communication support technologies were as pervasive, sophisticated, and user-friendly as they have become and are becoming.

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