2004 - Decision Support in an Uncertain World

Prato, Italy, 1-3 July

Proceedings edited by R.A. Meredith, D.R. Arnott, G. Shanks & S.A. Carlsson

Title Pages
Aidemark, J. and Persson, J.
Keywords:Knowledge Management Planning Framework Informal Learning Interpretive Case Study

Knowledge management is a diverse, complex and often contradictory activity ( Newell et al. 2001). This paper investigates a study of operators at a printing company. The operators are characterised as knowledge workers and the possibilities to introduce information based knowledge support for these workers were investigated. To deal with the complexity, a five perspective interpretative framework is suggested. A complex picture emerged; different intertwined and interacting knowledge management themes were found. The outcome of the study is a discussion of the necessity to discuss different and very diverse aspects of knowledge management in an integrated way.

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3-13
Andreoli, J.-M. and Castellani, S.
Keywords:Multi-Issue Negotiation Constraints Component-Based Programming Decision Making

Computer-supported negotiation processes are recurrent in many applications, typically to coordinate a set of autonomous decision-makers in order for them to reach a consensus on negotiated issues. In previous papers, we have presented Xplore, a generic model and tool for the design of such coordination, which subsumes a wide range of existing negotiation protocols and schemes. In this paper, we show how to build an interesting class of components capable of taking part in Xplore-coordinated negotiations. Decision-makers of that class are entirely automatic, and are capable of ensuring that arbitrary constraints, normally set by the coordinator of a negotiation, are respected throughout the negotiation process, whatever its evolution. We show how to derive such components by encapsulating arbitrary constraint solvers working by propagation on finite domains, a class of solvers which has been widely investigated in the literature and is nowadays available in many commercial products.

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14-24
Arnott, D. R., Pervan, G. P., O'Donnell, P. A. and Dodson, G. R.
Keywords:Decision Support Systems Group Support Systems Executive Information Systems Data Warehousing Business Intelligence Research Theory

This paper reports the preliminary results of a project that is investigating the theoretic foundations of decision support systems (DSS). The project is principally motivated by a concern for the direction and relevance of DSS research. The main areas of research focus are the decision and judgement theoretic base of the discipline, the research strategies used in published articles, and the professional relevance of DSS research. The project will analyse DSS articles published in 17 selected journals from 1990 to 2002. This preliminary report is based on the analysis of 358 papers. The findings indicate that DSS research is dominated by positivist research (in particular laboratory experiments and surveys), is heavily influenced by the work of Herbert Simon, and has a healthy balance of theory and application, but, it is poorly grounded in judgement and decision-making research, and falls down in the identification of the nature of clients and users.

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25-38
Aydin, M. N.
Keywords:Discourses Human Decision Support Method Adaptation Development Methodologies Action Research

It is evident that in practice information systems development methods (ISDMs) are usually not used as prescribed. For the effective use of ISDMs method adaptation (i.e. a decision making process through which an agent adapts the method to the project context at hand) is needed. To facilitate a human agent in managing method adaptation appropriate decision support should be provided. Different discourses can be employed and various ways of such decision support are possible. This paper aims at presenting how better appropriation of decision support for method adaptation has been achieved in a large-scale IT department after some trials. Four episodes and their corresponding ways of decision support are distinguished in the department across a ten-year timeline. We analyze four episodes as evolving decision support practices. As four episodes indicate, the appropriation of decision support for method adaptation is essential to the achievement of real decision support. This study also explicates the often-cited suggestion in the decision support literature that before providing tool- based decision support to practitioners we should first understand how the decision is made. Depending on the explicitness and complexity of discourses embedded in a decision making process such an understanding may take few years.

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39-49
Bahli, B.
Keywords:Group Support Systems Group Performance Social Matching Self-Evaluation Social Loafing

The use of a public screen in electronic brainstorming has often been justified as a tool for sharing ideas. Little attention has been given to how such a tool influences group performance in terms of the quality of ideas generated. This article attempts to assess sources of influences the public screen manipulation may have on group performance. Using a laboratory experiment, 274 university students were randomly assigned to 50 groups. Three different treatment conditions were used: no public screen, public screen presented at the end of the session, and public screen provided throughout. The results show that there is a significant difference between groups under the three treatment conditions. The findings of this study offer striking evidence that there are factors that may account for these performance differences including the self-evaluation potential, social loafing and social matching effects. Implications of these findings for both researchers and practitioners are discussed.

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50-59
Bajwa, D. S., Lewis, L. F., Pervan, G. P. and Lai, V. S.
Keywords:Collaboration Collaborative Information Technologies Information Technology Adoption Information Technology Use Group Work

This paper builds upon innovation diffusion theory and tests a research model to validate five antecedents of collective adoption and use of seven collaborative information technologies (CITs). Analyses of data collected from 344 organizations in the US, Australia, and Hong Kong suggests that size (organization and IT function), centralization of decision-making, degree of integration, and infrastructure connectivity are significantly related to the adoption and use of CITs across all the three regions. Implications of these findings are discussed along with some directions for practice and research.

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60-69
Bally, J., Boneh, T., Nicholson, A. E. and Korb, K. B.
Keywords:Knowledge Management Knowledge Engineering Ontology Weather Forecasting Decision Support Systems

Decision support systems for weather forecasting have yet to tackle the key issues in formulating forecast policy, focussing instead on data presentation. Here we describe a method for eliciting forecasting information and outline a forecast ontology for codifying that information as a data management tool. The completed ontology will provide key ingredients for designing future decision support systems for actually negotiating, building and presenting forecast policies.

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70-81
Becser, N. and Zoltay-Paprika, Z.
Keywords:Service Quality Service Dimensions Quality Improvement Service Quality Improvement Decision Support System

We are introducing a system, the basis whereof is the SERVQUAL model evaluating the quality of services, elaborated by American researchers (Zeithaml et al. 1990). Our decision support system provides help for decision making by measuring the quality of the given service in different dimensions and according to different aspects, by collecting, evaluating and presenting the data. The basic functions of the model will be presented through the case of a Hungarian enterprise. Our aim is to elaborate such an SQI-DSS (service quality improvement decision support system) that, based on the Internet and the company intranet, provides regular and categorized information, respectively – by processing them – action alternatives to help decision makers make their decisions in connection with service quality improvement.

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82-91
Betts, J. and Johnston, R. B.
Keywords:Just-In-Time Inventory Decision Analysis

When purchased components for an assembly manufacturing operation are replenished Just-In-Time the investment in inventory holding of these components is eliminated, but usually with increased fixed reorder cost. It is therefore important in the pursuit of high returns on inventory investment to know for which components JIT replenishment is an optimal policy. In this paper we describe two decision tools that allow identification of candidate components for cost effective JIT replenishment. The first is a simple and easily interpreted coefficient, based on component cost and demand parameters which rank the importance of adoption of JIT replenishment of components. The second is a procedure that can be used by inventory managers to work from the ranking coefficient to an approximate model for profit and return on investment, for a given level of inventory capitalisation, when the highest priority JIT decisions are implemented cumulatively. The significance of this work is that both decision tools are simple enough for a typical inventory manager to implement using standard spreadsheet methods and are therefore capable of guiding real manufacturing companies to higher returns on inventory investment. We illustrate the use of these tools with data from a previously published case study.

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92-103
Bregar, A.
Keywords:Decision Models Electronic Spreadsheets Quality Metrics Information Systems Analysis and Design

Although many spreadsheet models are large and complex and although they guide important organizational decisions, they are rarely built according to formal strategies. This results in high error rates and represents a major risk to organizations. Therefore, in this paper, factors that influence the quality of spreadsheet-based decision support systems are examined. Special emphasis is put on reliability and proper design. Some product complexity metrics are adopted from the traditional software engineering and several new ones are proposed for the context of spreadsheet development. In addition, the extended spreadsheet flow diagram is introduced.

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104-114
Brézillon, P., Borges, M. R. S., Pino, J. A. and Pomerol, J.-C.
Keywords:Decision Making Awareness Context Groupware

There are advantages of using the concept of context in the area of Computer-Supported Cooperative Work. However, it was not the case until now. For example, never the term of awareness has been used in this area with an explicit association to context. We discuss in this paper the interest to make context explicit in three case studies in the domain of collaborative works. In particular, we propose a framework to understand how context and awareness are related together and to other concepts used in group works, such as user interface and storage. The proposed framework is used to consider groupware systems presented in this paper from the context perspective and to eventually obtain some insight on possible improvements for users.

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115-124
Brézillon, P. and Zaraté, P.
Keywords:Group Decision Making Proceduralised Context Context Granularity

In this paper, we analyse a case study, introduction of Information Technology in a newspaper firm, in the light of context. The complexity of information streams inside and outside of the firm gives a complex aspect to the change introduced in this firm. We identify several types of contexts at different granularities with relationships based on the transformation from the contextual knowledge into the proceduralized context. A finding of this study is that making context explicit could improve in a consequential way the interaction among the members of the firm.

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125-133
Camponovo, G. and Pigneur, Y.
Keywords:Information Systems Alignment Environment Assessment Scenario Planning

Managing an organization is a delicate art of achieving alignment between its various internal and external components. In particular, the alignment between an organization’s strategy, its environment and its information system has traditionally been a key management issue and has been largely investigated. However, the contribution of information systems towards achieving alignment between these components has been much less considered. This paper presents a theoretical framework for designing a strategic DSS for assessing the organization’s environment and evaluating its potential evolution scenarios.

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134-146
Carlsson, S. A.
Keywords:Knowledge Acquisition Absorptive Capacity ICT Knowledge Management Knowledge Management Systems

For firms in complex, uncertain, and high-velocity environments a source for competitiveness is their external knowledge-related relationships. Information and communication technologies (ICT) can play an important role in knowledge-intensive processes and flows. Using the dynamic capability and absorptive capability views the paper presents and discusses how ICT can be used to enhance knowledge acquisition from external sources. Absorptive capability is a dynamic capability pertaining to knowledge creation and utilization that enhances a firm’s ability to gain and sustain a competitive advantage. Four capabilities compose a firm’s absorptive capacity: acquisition, assimilation, transformation, and exploitation. This paper focuses acquisition, which is a firm’s capability to identify and acquire externally information and knowledge that is critical to its operations. The paper discusses how ICT can be used to enhance knowledge acquisition. The core business process used for illustration is (new) product development.

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147-156
Ceglowski, A. and Churilov, L.
Keywords:Multicriteria Decision Making Multicriteria Decision Aid Support Strategy Strategic Control Goal Programming

This paper presents a decision support approach that combines multiple criteria concepts with optimisation methods to assist with exploration of alternatives in strategic control. The contributions of this paper are the novel way in which different strategies may be characterised and objectives quantified, and the generation of “good” combinations of alternatives, rather than mere ranking of alternatives that is standard practice in most decision support methods. An illustrative example is provided. The paper describes how the approach can be used in the comparison of different strategies, identification of effective and efficient courses of action and recognition of emergent opportunities.

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157-168
Dargam, F., Gachet, A., Zaraté, P. and Barnhart, T.
Keywords:Decision Support Systems Distance Education Case Study Distributed Decision Support Systems

This paper introduces a project currently carried out by the authors, which tackles the implementation and evaluation of Decision Support Systems for planning Distance Education courses. As its main objective, the paper presents one of the case studies that are proposed for evaluating the performance of the DSS prototypes, which are going to be implemented in the project. The case study presented here is implemented as an optimisation model.

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169-179
Dawson, L. and Fisher, J.
Keywords:Decision Making Performance Monitoring PDA Non-Functional Requirements Case Study

Part of the training of medical registrars involves trainees monitoring decisions regarding the choice of appropriate procedures in specific clinical situations. Performance monitoring of clinical decisions has proven useful in maintaining and improving professional standards. This paper presents a study of the use of Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs) for performance monitoring of decision-making by trainee anaesthetists. In order to study this performance monitoring application it was also necessary to address issues in the use of PDAs relating to non-functional requirements such as usability, portability and organisational and physical contexts. The findings of this study illustrate the importance of addressing these requirements in application design for nomadic, mobile environments.

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180-190
Debenham, J.
Keywords:Negotiation Support

Negotiation between two trading agents is as much an information exchange process as it is an offer exchange process. To avoid the problems of natural language understanding, this information is represented in predicate logic and organised into lattice structures. The negotiation process aims to reach informed decisions in eMarket bargaining by integrating the exchange of offers and the acquisition and exchange of information drawn from the environment. Negotiation proceeds by a loose alternating offers protocol that is intended to converge when the agents believe that they are fully informed. The eNegotiation framework is a prototype for developing agents that exploit an information-rich environment in one-to-one negotiation. This work is part of a program that is investigating deeper issues of market evolution and business network development in an immersive, virtual worlds eMarket environment.

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191-201
Delisle, S. and St-Pierre, J.
Keywords:Artificial Intelligence Benchmarking Decision Support Systems Expert Systems Performance Evaluation SME

We present the PDG system, a decision support tool meant to evaluate SMEs from an external perspective in order to produce a diagnosis of their performance and potential, complemented with relevant recommendations on which owners-managers can base their decisions such as hiring new personnel or reinvesting in the company, for instance. We relate the PDG system to decision support systems and expert systems, and provide evidence showing how and why the PDG system exploits benchmarking in an original and valuable way for SMEs. Our research results show that benchmarking allows SMEs to improve their operational performance thus confirming the usefulness of benchmarking as a decision support tool, especially since traditional performance models for large enterprises do not apply well to SMEs. These results also confirm the value of the recommendations included in the PDG report concerning short-term actions to be undertaken to modify management practices.

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202-212
Djamasbi, S., Remus, W. E. and O'Connor, M.
Keywords:Affect Mood Decision Making Judgement Judgemental Performance Judgemental Accuracy Judgemental Consistency

In this study, we investigated the influence of mood on a production scheduling managerial task by comparing the effects of positive and neutral mood on individual judgments and their accuracy. When the subjects have been exposed to the task and thus have gained experience doing the task, the subjects in a positive mood performed significantly better than the subjects in a neutral mood.

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213-222
Duenas, A. and Petrovic, D.
Keywords:Single Machine Scheduling Fuzzy Set Multi-Objective Optimisation Genetic Algorithms Local Search

This paper presents a new approach to single machine production scheduling problems in the presence of uncertainty and multiple scheduling objectives. The uncertain parameter considered is job’s duedates, modelled by a fuzzy set where membership degrees represent a decision maker’s satisfaction grades with respect to the job completion time. The objectives are to minimise the maximum and the average tardiness of the jobs. An aggregation operator is used to consider fuzzy multi-objectives simultaneously. In order to find a job schedule that maximises the grade of satisfaction achieved, a hybrid algorithm that combines a multi- objective genetic algorithm with local search is applied. The fuzzy multi-objective approach is used to solve a real-life problem defined through collaboration with a manufacturing pottery company. The results obtained show that combining a genetic algorithm with local search can yield better results than applying the genetic algorithm on its own.

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223-232
Edwards, J. S. and Shaw, D.
Keywords:Knowledge Management Decision Support Systems Knowledge Management Systems Strategy

This paper reports on the IT systems that managers in a sample of UK organizations see as most relevant to supporting their knowledge management strategy at present and in the future. A marked preference is shown for generic software rather than software that is specific to knowledge management. Two new schools of thought on knowledge management strategy, the integrating and summarising/library schools, are also identified.

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233-242
Eom, S. B.
Keywords:Intellectual Structure Reference Disciplines Group Support Systems Decision Support Systems Design Model Management Implementation Multicriteria Decision Aid

This paper extends earlier benchmark study(Eom 1995) which examined the intellectual structure, major themes, and reference disciplines of decision support systems (DSS) over the last two decades (1960-1990). Factor analysis of an author cocitation matrix over the period of 1990 through 1999 extracted 10 factors, representing six major areas of DSS research: group support systems, DSS design, model management, implementation, and multiple criteria decision support systems and five contributing disciplines: cognitive science, computer supported cooperative work, multiple criteria decision making, organizational science, and social psychology. We have highlighted several notable trends and developments in the DSS research areas over the 1990s.

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243-251
Faniel, I. M. and Majchrzak, A.
Keywords:Communities of Practice Knowledge Management Knowledge Management Systems Knowledge Work

Prior research on knowledge management and knowledge management systems has tended to assume one of two perspectives on knowledge – knowledge-as-object (e.g. knowledge is explicit) or knowledge-as-action (e.g. knowledge is tacit). However in the real world the distinction is not that straightforward. Explicit and tacit knowledge are said to be mutually constituted rather than separate and distinct. Thus in this exploratory study we use Lave and Wenger’s (1991) concept of transparency rather than a taxonomy of knowledge types as a means to determine how technology might support knowledge work. We found the conceptualization of transparency to be a useful alternative and hope our findings make way for additional research in the area.

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252-261
Gartshore, D.
Keywords:Decision Support Systems Structuration Theory Diffusion Theory Farm Management Rural Cotton Gender Australia

In this paper, the findings of a recent study in the Australian cotton industry exploring rural women’s use of an agricultural decision support system, CottonLOGIC, are presented. Analysis is applied through the conceptual framework of structuration theory as a meta-theory. Divisibility and implementation costs from an environmental model of diffusion theory are used for lower level analysis. The findings suggest that rural women intentionally select for implementation specific modules within CottonLOGIC, and that the benefits of the outcome, such as increased computer confidence and an enhanced critical awareness of existing farm management practices, diminish the efforts associated with software implementation.

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262-272
Gelléri, P. and Csáki, C.
Keywords:Decision Support Group Decision Support Systems Multicriteria Analysis Complexity Procurement Voter's Confidence Constellations Over Attribute States

Working in the same application area as decision consultants for a long time using the same GDSS tool we have developed that offers a wide range of optional features provides us with the opportunity to evaluate our experiences regarding the application of the tool. This paper presents the cumulative expertise of case studies on what features are used from the set offered and why, and for what additional capabilities end-users or consultants asked. It also examines the chances of introducing new features into the practice through the analysis of two examples: voter’s confidence and constellations over attribute states.

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273-282
Gendron, M. S., Shanks, G. and Alampi, J.
Keywords:Information Quality Decision Making Design Organisational Effectiveness

In light of the current state of data and information quality research, this paper examines the necessity of extending available literature. A proposed next step is establishment of a Decision Support System (DSS) based on a solidly and comprehensively tested Information Quality (IQ) framework. The goal of the IQ-based DSS is enhancement of managerial decision making and, ultimately, the promotion of organizational effec- tiveness. It is our contention that organizational effectiveness is tied inextricably to the triad of managerial decision making, information systems design and information quality.

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283-294
Gibson, M., Arnott, D. R. and Jagielska, I.
Keywords:Business Intelligence Evaluation Decision Support Systems Intangible Benefits

A Business Intelligence (BI) system is a technology that provides significant business value by improving the effectiveness of managerial decision-making. In an uncertain and highly competitive business environment, the value of strategic information systems such as these is easily recognised. High adoption rates and investment in BI software and services suggest that these systems are a principal provider of decision support in the current marketplace. Most business investments are screened using some form of evaluation process or technique. The benefits of BI are such that traditional evaluation techniques have difficulty in identifying the soft, intangible benefits often provided by BI. This paper, forming the first part of a larger research project, aims to review current evaluation techniques that address intangible benefits, presents issues relating to the evaluation of BI in industry, and suggests a research agenda to advance what is presently a limited body of knowledge relating to the evaluation of BI intangible benefits.

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295-305
Handzic, M.
Keywords:Decision Support Knowledge Management Codification Personalisation

This paper reports the results of an empirical examination of the effectiveness of two knowledge management strategies (codification and personalisation) in improving decision making performance in a simulated forecasting task. Codification was manipulated with and without a procedural knowledge map, and personalisation in terms of an interactive and non-interactive decision environment. Results indicate that only codification had a significant effect on performance. Subjects with a procedural knowledge map demonstrated less frequent use of decision heuristics, and generated more accurate forecasts compared to those without such a map. Subjects from an interactive decision environment performed similarly to those working on their own.

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306-315
Hastings, S. and Flitman, A.
Keywords:Financial Modelling Acquisitions Decision Support Systems Management Decision Making Valuation Strategy

A new process model is proposed that illustrates how to apply financial modelling throughout acquisition deals. The research assessed the ability of an existing general decision making model to explain the tasks undertaken in four acquisition deals. The research then mapped the financial modelling used in those acquisition deals against the general model. An analysis of how financial modelling was employed against the general model gave rise to underlying generic sub-processes that, when combined, formed the new model. We conclude that, based on four case studies, our model provides a standard, broad decision support system framework that can be used by dealmakers to apply financial modelling throughout acquisition deals.

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316-329
Hawryszkiewycz, I. and Maung, W.

Knowledge management concerns two important activities. One is to define ways to capture and convert knowledge into a form useful within business processes. This includes the definition of knowledge objects and knowledge creation activities. The second is how to integrate the knowledge creation activities into the business process. The paper concentrates on such integration and ways to model it. The paper defines a knowledge creation process for knowledge management. It then describes ways of integrating these activities into collaborative processes. It also suggests that software agents be used to facilitate such integration.

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330-338
Hayne, S. C., Smith, C. A. P. and Vijayasarathy, L.
Keywords:Collaboration Shared Cognition Stimulating Structures

A series of experiments was conducted in which teams made resource allocation decisions while physically dispersed and supported with a shared virtual work surface (What You See Is What I See - WYSIWIS). The task required teams to recognize patterns of information and collaborate to allocate their resources appropriately. The experimental treatment involved the use of tools specifically designed to minimize the cognitive effort required to recognize and share patterns among team members. Dependent measures included outcome quality, pattern sharing correctness and pattern sharing time. All teams received significant financial rewards in direct proportion to their outcome quality. Teams supported with the pattern-sharing tools had significantly higher outcome quality and significantly less resource movements. Further, the teams that used the chunk- sharing tool performed better than the teams that relied on an item-sharing tool. These results extend the theory of Recognition Primed Decision-Making by applying it to groups.

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339-349
Herrmann, C.
Keywords:Data Warehousing Data Warehouse Organisations Organisational Structures Process Management

Practitioners and researchers in the domain of data warehousing are primarily focussing on technical aspects of data warehouse systems. Organizational issues are often neglected although several studies about critical success factors of data warehouse projects emphasize their importance. Thus, the aim of this paper is to provide deeper insights in organizational issues of data warehousing. The paper focuses on structural aspects of data warehouse organizations by presenting results of an exploratory survey conducted in 2003. The study shows a trend towards organizational challenges, problems in the structural dimension of data warehouse organizations and what kind of documentation about data warehouse departments exists. The findings of the study are discussed and implications for research and practice are highlighted.

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350-358
Hill, G.
Keywords:Information Quality Assessment Information Value Information Theory Customer Relationship Management

The definition of measures of Information Quality (IQ) is an important part of Information Systems research and practice. A model is presented for organisational processes that classify a large number of customers into a relatively small number of partitions (or segments) using attributes in a database. The model is built upon concepts from the IQ literature, but uses Information Theory to define appropriate measures. These measures allow business analysts to assess different aspects of the processes, with a view to understanding the impact of IQ upon business performance. Based upon this understanding and the organisational context, IQ treatment proposals may be constructed, refined and evaluated. In addition to specifying the model and measures, an illustrative example is presented.

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359-371
Hodgkin, J., San Pedro, J. and Burstein, F.
Keywords:Mobile Decision Support Multicriteria Analysis Quality of Data

This paper describes research investigating ways in which a mobile decision support system might be implemented. Our view is that the mobile decision maker will be better supported if he/she is aware of the Quality of the Data (QoD) used in deriving the decision, and how QoD improves or deteriorates while he/she is on the move. We propose a QoD model that takes into account static and dynamic properties of the mobile decision making environment, use multicriteria decision analysis to represent the user’s decision model and to derive a single QoD parameter, and investigate use of powerful graphics to relay information to the user.

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372-380
Huber, G. P. and Lewis, K.
Keywords:Group Decision Making Mental Model Cross Understanding Group Decision Support Systems

A fundamental concept that underlies the phenomena dealt with by decision scientists and Group Decision Support System designers is that of “mental model” — the decision maker’s beliefs about how the world is, how it works, and how it should be. This paper examines this concept, and also that of “cross understanding” — the understanding that individual group members have about the mental models of other individual group members. Our analysis indicates that cross understanding has important consequences for the quality of group decisions. The paper concludes with suggestions for improving decision group performance by using information technology to exploit cross understanding.

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381-391
Joe, C. and Yoong, P.
Keywords:Older Workers Knowledge Transfer Knowledge Sharing Information Technologies

This paper reports part of a study that examines how to harness the knowledge assets of older workers. Five older workers, from both public and private sector organisations, were interviewed face-to-face regarding their potential contributions to other work colleagues based on their expertise on work practices. Preliminary results revealed the following set of common themes: (a) challenges in transitioning to retirement, (b) relevant and transferable skills and knowledge, (c) organisational readiness in retaining knowledge and skills and (d) the use of information technology to support knowledge sharing. The implications the findings have for future research will be discussed.

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392-401
Hafez, H. A. A. and Kamel, S.
Keywords:Data Warehouse Online Analytical Processing Relational Online Analytical Processing Decision Support Information Egypt Information Technology in Developing Nations

This paper discusses data warehouse in the Cabinet of Egypt Information and Decision Support Center (IDSC) as one of the smart organizations in the Arab world. The case study includes the background of the IDSC, its objectives, services, initial project, and beneficiaries. It also illustrates how to build the data warehouse, problems founded during the project, the benefits of data warehouse and the lessons learned from this case.

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402-409
Kerr, D. S. and Murthy, U. S.
Keywords:Negotiation Support Systems Group Support Systems Conflict Resolution Idea Generation Brainstorming

Various forms of computer-based group support systems are now commercially available. These systems can be used for a wide range of decision-making tasks. The current study compares the performance of teams meeting face-to-face and teams meeting via a computer-based system in the context of tasks that are at opposite ends of McGrath’s (1984) “task circumplex.” Two tasks are employed—an integrative bargaining task requiring cooperation to yield the highest payoff for each group member and an idea-generation task requiring no coordination or cooperation among team members. The results reveal that while computer- mediated teams generate a greater number of unique ideas relative to face-to-face teams in the idea- generation task, there is no significant difference between face-to-face and computer-mediated groups on the integrative bargaining task. The findings of this study provide no basis for arguing against the use of NSS for integrative bargaining tasks, despite theoretical arguments both for and against the use of NSS for such tasks.

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410-420
Köhne, F., Schoop, M. and Staskiewicz, D.
Keywords:Negotiation Support Systems Decision Support Preference Elicitation Bounded Rationality

Electronic negotiations can involve complex communication and decision processes if complex goods or service are involved. In such cases, an electronic negotiation support system (NSS) extended by a decision support (DS) component can provide valuable help for the users. However, since users have a bounded rationality, such complex processes will never be strictly linear nor rational. Therefore, there are a number of challenges that a DS method to be integrated into an NSS has to meet. This paper discusses the challenges and evaluates different methods for preference elicitation with respect to these challenges.

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421-429
Komiak, S. and Benbasat, I.
Keywords:Recommendation Agents Customer Decision Support Systems Electronic Commerce Persuasiveness ACE Theory Appropriateness Consistency Effectiveness Collaborative Filtering Constraint Satisfaction

Recommendation agents are computer agents used as customer decision support systems in electronic commerce; they make product recommendations from among a very large number of online product alternatives. Grounded on a persuasion theory, this paper builds a model to identify the most persuasive recommendation agent type and explain why it is so. Three major types of recommendation agents – constraint-satisfaction, collaborative-filtering, and need-based expert-driven – are described and their degrees of persuasiveness are compared. Lastly, this paper suggests that empirical investigations are needed to verify the model’s adequacy and validity, especially in different contexts as moderated by customer expertise and product complexity.

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430-435
Lainema, T.
Keywords:Learning Decision Making Business Learning Environments Business Education

In this paper we will first analyse what has happened in the organizational decision-making during the last decades. Based on this analysis we form three arguments that should be taken into account when planning and implementing business learning environments realistically illustrating the uncertainty and complexity of real world decision-making environments. Last we will describe experiences from training sessions carried out with a tool which we believe to function according to the three arguments.

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436-446
Lauria, E. J. M. and Duchessi, P. J.
Keywords:Information Technology Implementation Bayesian Belief Networks Decision Support Systems

Bayesian Belief Networks (BBNs) are graphical models that provide a compact and simple representation of probabilistic data. BBNs depict the relationships among several variables and include conditional probability distributions that can be used to make probabilistic statements about those variables. This paper demonstrates how to create a BBN from real-world data on client-server implementations and provides a methodology for organizing the data, and for applying several techniques and algorithms to learn the network’s structure and estimate the pertinent parameters. The paper also displays the resulting BBN and describes how it can be incorporated into a DSS to support “what-if” analyses about client-server implementations.

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447-456
Lee, K. C., Chung, N. and Kim, J. S.
Keywords:Emotional Schema Rational Schema Cognitive Resonance Confirmatory Factor Analysis Structural Equation Model Decision Performance

This paper is aimed at proposing a new framework to predict decision performance, by investigating decision maker’s cognitive resonance. We assume that every decision maker has two kinds of schema- emotional schema and rational schema. Cognitive resonance is believed to have a close relationship with the two schemata and decision performance. In literature on decision performance there is no study seeking relationship among the two schemata and cognitive resonance. Therefore, our research purposes are twofold: (1) to provide a theoretical basis for the proposed framework describing the causal relationships among two schemata, cognitive resonance, and decision performance, and (2) to empirically prove its validity applying to Internet shopping situation. Based on the questionnaires from 138 respondents, we used a second order confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) to extract valid constructs, and structural equation model (SEM) to calculate path coefficients and prove the statistical validity of our proposed research model. Experimental results supported our research model with some further research issues.

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457-468
Lee, K. C., Kim, J. S. and Chung, N.
Keywords:Web Mining Fuzzy Cognitive Map Inference Association Rule Customer Relationship Management

This paper proposes using a stratified fuzzy cognitive map (FCM) to amplify inference results of Web mining As a dramatic usage of the Internet for a wide variety of daily management activities, Web mining becomes one of the intelligent techniques to provide robust decision support. However, conventional Web mining approaches have failed to offer enriched inference results due to the lack of understanding causal knowledge hidden in the Web mining results. In this sense, this paper proposes using a stratified FCM to overcome this pitfall of the conventional Web mining approaches. Illustrative example is presented to prove the performance of our proposed approach.

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469-481
Lim, J. and Yang, Y. P.
Keywords:Decision Making Negotiation Support Systems Electronic Commerce Videoconferencing

The advent of business-to-business (B2B) e-commerce market has created needs and opportunities for firms to negotiate deals online. Most negotiation support systems (NSS) in past research are text-based and the related findings could not be generalized to negotiating situations utilizing advanced electronic communication technology. This paper investigates the impact of NSS and conflict level on negotiation outcomes where participants communicated through a videoconferencing channel. Findings suggested that dyads with videoconferencing NSS support achieved higher joint outcome, but spent more time in reaching agreements - in low but not high conflict negotiation situation. Conclusion and implications were drawn.

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482-489
Loebbecke, C. and Angehrn, A. A.
Keywords:Knowledge Management Learning Knowledge Exchange Co-Opetition Taxonomy Open Source Decision Making

This primarily conceptual paper introduces 'Co-opetitive Learning and Knowledge Exchange Networks' (CoLKENs) as a specific context for decision making. CoLKENs play a pivotal role within our global, increasingly knowledge based society and shape knowledge sharing processes among their members and organizations. The inherent balancing act between cooperation and competition requires designing and implementing specific management processes to enable economic value maximization for individuals and firms. CoLKENs, their components and generic structure are described. A first taxonomy is suggested. Two specific CoLKENs in open source type environments, SourceForge and CodeX (Xerox) are explored. Finally, future research lines are identified.

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490-500
Lorins, P., Brézillon, P. and Gonzalez, A.
Keywords:Context-Based Reasoning Tactical Agent Contextual Graphs

Context-based Reasoning (CxBR) and contextual graphs (CxGs) involve the modelling of human behavior in tactical, and operational situations in which optimal human decision making is of utmost importance. Both formalisms use the notion of contexts to allow the implementation of intelligent agents equipped with a context-sensitive knowledge base. However, CxBR uses a set of discrete contexts, implying that models created using CxBR operate within one context at a given time interval. CxGs use a continuous context-based representation for a given problem-solving scenario for operational processes. Both formalisms use contexts dynamically by continuously changing between necessary contexts as needed in appropriate instances. This paper is an attempt to comparatively identify a synergy between these two formalisms by looking into their similarities and differences.

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501-508
Makewita, S. M.
Keywords:DSS Failure Paradigm Error Interface Error

Various errors incurred in the process of development could contribute significantly to the failures of Decision Support Systems (DSS) in organisations. A majority of these errors are the misinterpretations and wrong assumptions made by the developers, which make the DSS both drift away from the decision problem and difficult to use. Our investigations of the failure of a DSS tool in one organisation revealed the presence of two further kinds of errors which could cause negative influence on user acceptance. We denote them as the ‘paradigm error’ and ‘interface error’, and we highlight the need for eliminating these particularly when developing DSS tools for optional usage.

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509-517
McManus, D. J., Wilson, L. T. and Snyder, C. A.
Keywords:Business Value Knowledge Harvesting Competitive Advantage Knowledge Retention Intellectual Assets Return on Investment Knowledge Management

Although the business value of Knowledge Management continues to be debated, it is evident that organizations need to manage their valuable corporate knowledge from a practical standpoint. Many researchers and practitioners agree that Knowledge Management (KM) must be defined in terms of business objectives. Organizational resistance to KM efforts is attributed to the lack of evidence that KM implementations are effective and can be measured, resulting in a positive impact to the bottom-line. The difficult question, however, remains of how to measure this valuable resource. Case studies are reported to show how one firm determined bottom-line value.

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518-524
Keenan, P., McGarraghy, S., McNamara, C. and Phelan, M.
Keywords:Decision Support Systems Recruitment Skill Matching Personnel Selection

Decision support systems (DSS) have achieved considerable success in many areas of business activity. The type of semi-structured problem where DSS is successful frequently involves the management or configuration of vehicles or machines. While DSS has been used for human resource problems such as personnel scheduling, there have been fewer DSS applications in the area of personnel placement. This paper describes a DSS to assist in the matching of the skills of the prospective employees with the needs of the employer.

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525-534
Melchert, F. and Winter, R.
Keywords:Real-Time Enterprise Business Performance Management Process Management Business Intelligence Enterprise Application Integration Data Warehouse

As a consequence of various shortcomings of traditional, isolated support concepts, the IT industry has developed several new concepts and tools to meet business requirements for a highly integrated, low-latency, adaptive performance management support. In this paper, recent trends in the IT market are analysed. Certain convergence trends are identified which contribute to an appropriate IT support for business performance management. As a conceptual foundation of performance management system implementations, it support processes for business performance management proposed. All findings are based on a large-scale cooperation project of a business school and five large service companies.

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535-546
Meredith, R. A.
Keywords:Critical Reflection Reflective Equilibrium Decision Support Systems

Despite being the dominant paradigm of rational decision making, the Rational Choice Model has been strongly criticised as a descriptive, prescriptive and normative theory of rationality. These criticisms mostly lie in the strongly objective and quantitative approach to incorporating a decision maker’s subjective beliefs and desires into the decision making process. However, the belief-desire basis of the Rational Choice Model remains defensible, and approaches such as John Rawls’ ‘reflective equilibrium’ maintain this basis whilst allowing for a more flexible approach in finding coherence in a decision maker’s potentially conflicting beliefs, values, goals and principles. This paper advocates the idea of supporting ‘wide’ reflective equilibrium, where a decision maker canvasses a wide ranging source of viewpoints including supportive as well as challenging information sources. Some implications for DSS are discussed.

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547-556
Mora, M., Cervantes, F., Gelman, O. and Forgionne, G.
Keywords:Implementation System Dynamics Soft Systems Methodology CRM-SSD Methodology

Continued failures suggests that achieving a successful implementation of a large-scale Decision-Making Support System (DMSS) is still an ill-understood and under-managed phenomenon. The utilization of classic research approaches for the study of complex socio-technical or messy situations, such as a DMSS implementation process, has some methodological limitations. We believe that a System-Science-based, multi- method perspective, called CRM-SSD, can close some methodological limitations and research gaps in the DMSS implementation literature. Preliminary results suggest that the CRM-SSD methodology is a research tool, capable of integrating the findings from the classic approaches and generating new and useful insights.

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557-567
Nakatsu, R. T.
Keywords:Explanations Decision Support Systems Expert Systems Intelligent Systems User Interfaces Artificial Intelligence Human-Computer Interaction

This paper provides a framework for understanding the explanatory power of intelligent systems. It looks at content-based enhancements, drawn primarily from the Expert Systems literature, interface-based enhancements, and the appropriate selection of an advisory strategy. Such enhancements contribute to explanatory power by increasing system transparency and flexibility, and lead to outcomes such as better decision-making and problem-solving performance.

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568-577
Neville, K. and Heavin, C.
Keywords:e-Learning Customer Relationship Management Learning Management Systems

The CRM silver bullet solution has made its way from the boardroom into the classroom as organizations and universities alike continue to become more and more customer/student centric. Both are currently implementing successful support systems in order to meet their end-users needs. As early as 1995, University College Cork (a Third-level Irish university) introduced online support to provide learning material for students ranging from full / part-time undergraduates and postgraduates to distance-learners. However, students identified a need for more support, the type that only a more interactive system can provide. This research study is focused on the use of an interactive e-learning management system (eLMS) to enhance and manage the relationship between the students (customers) and the educators. The case study indicates a strong requirement for the utilization of such an environment. This type of system has the potential to eliminate the barriers imposed by the traditional classroom and increasingly focus on the needs of the student. Through the adoption of the CRM philosophy the system presented here strengthened its link between the different actors and additionally provided the university with a more in-depth view of its target audience.

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578-588
Nicolaou, A. I.
Keywords:ERP Post-Implementation Review Implementation

This paper examines the determinants of success during the post-implementation stage of ERP systems and identifies drivers that contribute to successful implementations. The present study employs past literature to identify important factors and utilizes a qualitative research approach in validating their potential importance in successful ERP system implementations. Insights from the analysis of two case studies are used to validate the importance of such drivers of success during the post-implementation stage of a system. The study presents important implications useful in the development of conceptual research models for ERP system success.

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589-597
Norese, M. F., Montagna, F. and Vinardi, F. M.
Keywords:Multicriteria Decision Aid Multicriteria Methods and Modelling Strategic Choice Approach Knowledge Management Decision Support Systems

A problem solving case is here presented to show the potentiality of an integrated approach in relation to a problem that developed in a wood company. Its very large quantity of waste wood has been sold for many years to plywood producers, but this income has been greatly reduced due to new market preferences. The waste wood has therefore become a stock and risk problem; it could however represent a potential clean and free energy source. The technical, financial and law constraints necessitated a multicriteria modeling of the problem, but the uncertainty elements that characterized the situation required integration between the multicriteria approach to the problem formulation and a different approach of problem structuring and strategy development which focuses attention on alternative ways of managing uncertainties. The combination of two different approaches of decision aiding improves the effectiveness of this technical intervention and is intended as a proposal for easier reading of the organizational decision context and for a better support for unstructured decision problems.

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598-606
O'Donnell, P. A. and Draper, N.
Keywords:Business Intelligence Online Analytical Processing Pivot Table Laboratory Experiment

This paper examines the usability of the orthodox interface to access business intelligence data held in OLAP- based systems – the pivot table. An alternative to the pivot table is described, based on Erik Thomsen’s simple diagramming technique for designing OLAP data structures. That interface is compared to the pivot table in a laboratory-based experiment. The results show that the alternative interface is a better interface to use for ad hoc access to OLAP data. The results for the subjects using the pivot table are very poor, with nearly a third of them being unable to successfully complete any of three simple analysis tasks. These results have important implications, as many systems and software tools are now based on the pivot table interface. The pivot table could be too difficult for most users to use, limiting the success of business intelligence systems based on OLAP technology.

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607-617
O'Leary, D. E.
Keywords:Knowledge Management Ontology Best Practices

Ontologies can provide a consistent basis for knowledge representation that allows communication between both humans and machines. Best practices ontologies provide a means of facilitating communication about best practices. Further, best practices ontologies can be used to capture and preserve knowledge about best practices to facilitate comparison between different organizational best practices. The focus of this paper is on change of best practice knowledge bases over time. In particular, the focus is on the change of the ontology used to structure the best practice knowledge.

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618-627
O'Leary, D. E.
Keywords:Knowledge Representation Knowledge Elicitation If-Then Rules

This paper investigates how knowledge representation in the elicitation process, impacts the knowledge that is solicited. In particular, this paper investigates the relationship between using different, but equivalent knowledge representations for knowledge elicitation (e.g., “If – then” and “Given”), while focusing on probability knowledge. In addition, this paper investigates other issues that can influence the knowledge elicited. Tense (present or future) of items ranked in a probability elicitation process, extent of expertise and presence of problem in a domain of their expertise, and the impact of acquiring knowledge from groups compared with individuals, also are found to impact knowledge elicited.

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628-636
Petrovic, S. and Geiger, M. J.
Keywords:Fuzzy Scheduling Dynamic Scheduling Multicriteria Optimisation Local Search Preference Structure

In real world scheduling problems, priorities of jobs may change over time. A less important job today may be of high importance tomorrow and vice versa. Another important aspect of decision making in manufacturing environments is often the impreciseness of the problem definition, comprising both the available data and the knowledge about the preference structure of the decision maker. The paper presents a study of neighbourhood search heuristics for fuzzy scheduling. We especially address the problem of changing job priorities over time as studied at the Sherwood Press Corporation, a Nottingham based printing company. It can be shown, that the use of multiple criteria within the search process may improve the effectiveness of local search operators.

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637-646
Pomerol, J.-C. and Adam, F.
Keywords:Herbert Simon Decision Support Systems Bounded Rationality Legacy

Herbert Simon is one of the key researchers whose work has been drawn upon constantly by IS researchers. In this paper, we examine his legacy and illustrate his impact on the research carried out in the decision making area. Although he did not directly work on the concept of Decision Support System, much of his research can be regarded as theoretical foundation for DSS. We examine his contribution to the evolution of ideas in the DSS area and discuss the significance of his legacy for DSS.

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647-657
Price, R. J. and Shanks, G.
Keywords:Information Quality Data Quality Semiotics Decision Support

An organization depends on quality information for effective operations and decision-making. However, fundamental questions still remain as to how quality should be defined and the specific criteria that should be used to evaluate information quality. Previous work adopted either an intuitive, empirical, or theoretical approach to address this problem; however, we believe that an integrated research approach is required to ensure both rigour and scope. This paper presents an information quality framework based on semiotic theory, the linguistic theory of sign-based communication, to describe the form-, meaning-, and use-related aspects of information. This provides a sound theoretical basis both for defining quality categories, previously defined in an ad-hoc manner, based on these different information aspects and for integrating the different research approaches required to derive quality criteria for each category. The goal of our work is to provide an approach to defining information quality that is both theoretically grounded and practical that can serve as a basis for further research in data quality assessment and decision support.

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658-672
Remington, S., O'Donnell, P. A. and Arnott, D. R.
Keywords:Business Intelligence Enterprise Reporting Crystal Reports Teaching Case Study

This teaching cases study describes the development and implementation of an enterprise reporting system in a major Australian law firm. The dominant view in professional practice is that business intelligence systems like the one reported in this case should be provided data by an enterprise data warehouse. The case is particularly interesting because the reporting system was not based on a data warehouse. The paper concludes with a set of points for discussion, intended for graduate students studying data warehousing and business intelligence.

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673-682
Respício, A. and Captivo, M. E.
Keywords:Interfaces for Marketing-Production Decision-Making Production Planning and Scheduling Decision Support Systems

This paper reports on a real-world application addressing the coordination between cross functionality of marketing and production. We focus on the critical issues of this interface, namely: capacity planning and long-range to medium range sales forecasting, production short-term scheduling and short-range sales forecasting. We present a case study concerning the development of a decision support system for the paper industry. It assists both marketing and production decision makers, leading to a reduction of conflicts. The decision-making process is generalized into a framework that allows the sharing of the same decision models but with different perspectives. This framework may be adapted to other industries.

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683-691
Rowe, F. M.
Keywords:Decision Support Systems Conformity Banking User Behaviour Work Organisation

The longitudinal study of the most sophisticated decision support system for the management of accounts in debit in French banking brings new results on the issue of conformity. In 2003, the analysis of 45 observations and qualitative interviews, show that the advisor keeps his free appreciation of risk. However, even if there is not conformity, the results on the modification range shows that the DSS does have an influence, especially for lesser risk factors, the correlation between the risk factor and analysis time being perceptible. Moreover, the interpretation and validation of risk are different according to the type of portfolio managed and work organization. The less the financial advisor knows the client and the greater the influence of the DSS despite the apparent lack of conformity. Recent decisions regarding the division of labour for the management of lower segments reinforce the risk that DSS used without knowing the client lead to more conformity and a taylorization of services.

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692-702
Sammon, D. and McAvinue, D.
Keywords:ERP Software Selection Process Non-Decision-Making ERP Communities Category Manipulation

This paper proposes an alternate perspective to current research in terms of understanding the dynamics of an ERP software selection decision-making process, in that this paper builds on the theoretical framework proposed by Sammon and Adam (2002). We use the proposed model of the ERP Community (Sammon and Adam 2002) and attempt to understand how the substantive, institutional, and political factors, proposed by Caldas and Wood (1998) and Wood and Caldas (2000, 2001), impact an ERP software selection decision- making process. As a result, we highlight the existence of Non-Decision Making (NDM) within the ERP Community under study and identify various forms of Category Manipulation, in the context of relationships and interactions observed between the ERP Community actors. Furthermore, we present the actual outcomes of the ERP software selection decision making processes within the ERP Community under study, highlighting the impact of NDM. In conclusion, this research paper goes someway to validating the model proposed by Sammon and Adam (2002) and extends our thinking in terms of understanding the complexities of an ERP software selection process.

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703-713
San Pedro, J., Burstein, F., Cao, P., Churilov, L., Zaslavsky, A. and Wassertheil, J.
Keywords:Mobile Decision Support Soft Computing Mobile Computing Data Quality Triage

Triage in emergency departments is often complex and subject to conditions of uncertainty. The need for timely and accurate clinical assessment based on restricted and ambiguous information; the need to be consistent with standard triage scale and the stressful environment contribute to complexity and uncertainty of triage decision-making. This paper proposes a model for mobile decision support that aims at assisting the nurse when determining treatment category of a triage patient. Our model integrates soft computing and mobile computing technologies to provide intelligent decision support. The paper describes the model and prototype implementation of the model.

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714-723
San Pedro, J., Burstein, F. and Linger, H.
Keywords:E-Negotiation Support Automated Negotiation Intelligent Agents Boundary Conflict Resolution Marine Forecasting

This paper proposes multi-agent e-negotiation support architecture for boundary conflict resolution. We use intelligent agents to act as human assistants during the negotiation task and provide means and resources for making final decisions in case there is a discrepancy in opinions about the decision matter. As an illustration we describe a scenario in marine weather forecasting and discuss how the proposed framework may support forecasters when negotiating agreements toward a consistent forecast policy at the boundary of regional forecasting centres.

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724-733
Schaper, L. and Pervan, G. P.
Keywords:Technology Acceptance Technology Utilisation ICT Unified Theory of Acceptance and Utilisation of Technology Health Care

There is evidence to suggest that health professionals are reluctant to accept and utilise information and communication technologies (ICT) and concern is growing within health informatics research that this is contributing to the lag in adoption and utilisation of ICT across the health sector. Technology acceptance research within the field of information systems has been limited in its application to health and there is a concurrent need to develop and gain empirical support for models of technology acceptance within health and to examine acceptance and utilisation issues amongst health professionals to improve the success of information system implementation in this arena. This paper outlines a research project that will examine ICT acceptance and utilisation by Australian occupational therapists. It describes the theoretical basis behind the development of a research model and the methodology that will be employed to empirically validate the model using substantial quantitative, qualitative and longitudinal data. The theoretical significance of this work is that it uses a thoroughly constructed research model, with potentially the largest sample size ever tested, to extend technology acceptance research into the health sector. The results of this study will have practical and theoretical applications for five major stakeholder groups.

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734-744
Singh, A. K. and Sahu, R.
Keywords:Decision Support Systems Fuzzy Logic Expert Systems Customs Assessment HS Classification

In the International trade of the commodities, the rate of customs duties and other local duties are determined on the basis of World Customs Organization (WCO) approved HS classification that is followed in most of the countries. Since the classification is based on a number of rules that are subjected to different interpretation, disputes may arise between the customs department and the importer whenever there are different rates of duties in the possible headings. In this paper, we have developed a DSS, which helps the customs officers to select only such cases for re-classification where the implication of revenue is involved. The DSS also helps the customs authorities to decide the classification quickly and uniformly without any bias or prejudice.

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745-753
Stanek, S., Sroka, H. and Twardowski, Z.
Keywords:ERP Decision Support Systems Architecture for Hybrid Systems Components Integration Business Models Interface Agent Expert Systems

ERP packages are not sufficient from a decision making point of view (cf. e.g. Adam 2001) . Organizations that have implemented such systems are now facing the challenge of incorporating new resources and experiences for decision support purposes. The paper presents the findings of research on the construction of a hybrid decision support system consisting of three components: analyzer, simulator, and communicator (Stanek, Sroka Twardowski 2003) within an organization which already had a functioning ERP system. The differences between the idea of ERP and the DSS concept are discussed. Attention is brought to additional benefits and opportunities arising from the combination of these two.

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754-762
Staples, T., Evans, M., Scherer, B., Tolson, D. and Nelson, R.
Keywords:Decision Support Systems Data Integration Interdisciplinary Metadata Object Oriented Open Source Fedora

In this paper we describe a unique system for integrating disparate data that will allow for greatly improved decision support in diverse domains. The Flexible Extensible Digital Object Repository Architecture (Fedora) provides the foundation for this project by combining a flexible, use-neutral approach to organizing streams of content and metadata with disseminators that can transform the data upon demand. The goal of the project is to develop a set of open source software tools that completes the integrated environment needed to find data, prepare it and hand it off to application software in support of decision makers in a variety of settings.

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763-772
Suratmethakul, W. and Hasan, H.
Keywords:Organisational Change Activity Theory Grounded Theory Case Study

The paper describes unexpected problems encountered in the automation of a scheduling process using an IT application already in use in other similar organisations. A grounded theory approach was used to collect and categorise data on the case. Activity Theory was then used to analyse the attempt by management to implement organisational change through the introduction of the system. The findings suggest that it is inadvisable to impose organisational change through the introduction of a complex IT system, particularly when this disrupts entrenched decision-making processes of the organisation.

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773-781
Turpin, M. and du Plooy, N.
Keywords:Bias Decision Making Information Processing Information Systems

Information systems and in particular decision support systems have been developed to supplement human information processing and to assist with decision-making. Human decision-making is facilitated by the often unconscious use of heuristics in situations where it may not be possible or feasible to search for the best decision. Judgemental heuristics have previously been found to lead to biases in decision-making. When information systems are used as decision aids, they may have an influence on biases. This study investigates the role of information systems in introducing, reinforcing or reducing biases. It was found that information systems have the ability to introduce new biases and to reinforce biases. Information systems can also reduce biases, but this requires innovative thinking on the way information is represented and the way human decision-making processes are supported. It was also found that in the real world, as opposed to the laboratories where biases are usually measured, other constraints on rational decision-making, such as politics or data errors, can overshadow the effects of biases.

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782-792
White, S. and Jagielska, I.
Keywords:Data Mining Text Mining Classification Algorithm Customer Relationship Management Call Centre

Call centres are often the main and most critical customer contact point in organisations. Typically a call centre “help desk” receives requests in the form of free text descriptions of issues and forward the query to an appropriate specialist group within the organization. An error rate with respect to call classification and subsequent assignment will always exist due to various intrinsic human factors; hence opportunity exists for customer service improvement through error reduction. This paper examines the application of selected data mining techniques to automate classification of IT call centre enquiries in the company Cadbury Schweppes Asia Pacific. Research indicates classification based purely on basic word content appears to have limited capability beyond a certain level of accuracy, suggesting further sophistication in the filter task through techniques such as natural language rules may be required.

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793-802
Wild, R. H., Griggs, K. A. and Li, E. Y.
Keywords:Planning Scenarios Distributed Architecture Web Portal Simulation Model Virtual Teams Uncertainty Risk

Scenario planning is a method for learning about the future by understanding the nature and impact of the most uncertain and important driving forces affecting the future. Simulation models of organizational planning processes can be used to observe and assess the impact of plans (rules, policies, procedures, future events) on organizational performance in light of specified uncertainties. However, they are often employed by disparate groups within an organization with little or no sharing of information. We propose an architecture that permits distributed teams to build and evaluate planning scenarios jointly within a virtual community setting. It also provides facilities for remote discussions about the impact of various scenarios on future plan implementation.

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803-812
Winata, L. and Mia, L.
Keywords:JIT Manufacturing Information Technologies MAS Information

This study investigates the linkages between JIT (just-in-time manufacturing), ITC (information technology for communication) and broad scope MAS (management accounting systems) information. It builds on the relevant previous research in operations management, information technology and accounting, to formulate the research questions. Seventy-six general managers, each in charge of one strategic business unit (SBU) within their respective organisations, participated in the study. Data were collected from the managers using a mail-out questionnaire. The results revealed a significant and positive relationship between the managers’ use of the broad scope MAS information and JIT application, and between the managers’ use of the broad scope MAS information and the ITC.

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813-821
Winch, G., Joyce, P. and Currie, W.
Keywords:Visualisation E-Business E-Business Models Process Configuration Consensus

A significant challenge in any system design situation is that the parties involved in the decision-making have different mental models of how the desired and emerging systems compare. This paper proposes the use of modelling software to enable visualisation of the necessary business processes for the fulfilment of any planned e-business initiative. Simple stock-flow structures can be drawn to visualise and reflect on the two-way flows of information, product/service and money that define the critical structure of any e-Business. The process of envisioning the proposed systems can be built from scratch or use pre-formed representations of Weill and Vitale’s ‘atomic’ e-Business models. The visualisation system would ideally be used in a group decision support situation using projected screen images or even a purpose built ‘decision room’.

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822-835
Wu, F., Lu, J. and Zhang, G.
Keywords:Decision Support Systems Multiple Objective Linear Programming Fuzzy Multiple Objective Linear Programming Fuzzy Goal

A new fuzzy goal approximate algorithm has been developed for solving fuzzy multiple objective linear programming (FMOLP) problems where fuzzy parameters can be in any form of membership function in both objective functions and constraints. Based on the fuzzy goal approximate algorithm, a fuzzy multiple objective decision support system (FMODSS) is developed. This paper focuses on the development and use of FMODSS in detail. An example is presented for demonstrating how to solve a FMOLP problem by using the FMODSS when the fuzzy goals for objective functions are set up.

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836-846
Yang, J.-B., Xu, D.-L. and Chin, K.-S.
Keywords:Multicriteria Decision Aid Supplier Assessment Intelligent Decision System Evidential Reasoning Approach

Supplier assessment has become increasingly important to a business and getting a right supplier can bring real competitive advantages, whilst failure in supplier selection can lead to significant operational and financial consequences to a point of jeopardising the survival of the business. In this paper, the application of the Intelligent Decision System (IDS) to supplier assessment for a large international company is illustrated. IDS is a Windows-based software package that has been developed on the basis of the Evidential Reasoning (ER) approach, a recent development in handling hybrid Multiple Criteria Decision Analysis (MCDA) problems of both a quantitative and qualitative nature under uncertainty. In this paper, the ER approach will be briefly described first, and its major differences from and the relationships with conventional MCDA methods will also be discussed. Then the main features, advantages and benefits of IDS will be demonstrated and explained through its application to the assessment of five suppliers of the company using two versions of a supplier pre-qualification assessment model, one for manufacturing suppliers and the other for service suppliers. It is concluded in the paper that IDS can be used not only to deal with problems that traditional methods can solve, but also more complicated decision problems that traditional methods are incapable of handling.

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847-860
Zack, M. H.
Keywords:Knowledge Management Decision Support Systems Uncertainty Complexity Ambiguity Equivocality

Decision making requires both information and knowledge. Information (or its absence) is central to decision making situations involving uncertainty and complexity, while knowledge (or its absence) is associated with problems of ambiguity and equivocality. This paper proposes that computer-based decision support technologies are appropriate to supporting decision making under conditions of uncertainty and complexity, while human-centric approaches may be more appropriate under conditions of ambiguity or equivocality. Both approaches, however, must be tightly integrated for organizational learning to occur. The framework is illustrated with a case study of the implementation of a decision support system used for price quoting in a leasing company.

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861-871
Zeleznikow, J. and Bellucci, E.
Keywords:Decision Support Systems Litigation Negotiation

Negotiation is considered in general very context sensitive. Since our research laboratory has successfully developed decision support systems in Australian Family Law, we have used our domain expertise to construct a variety of Family Law negotiation support systems. Family_Winner uses point allocation and heuristics to advise upon structuring the mediation process and provides solutions based on trade-off and compensation strategies. Heuristic utility functions were developed from cases supplied to us by the Australian Institute of Family Studies. Family_Winner operates best when it is possible to allocate points to issues, and creative decision-making is not required. Whilst conducting an evaluation of the Family_Winner system, we observed that Family_Winner, in focusing upon providing advice with regard to bargaining, had neglected considering issues of justice. In a domain such as Family Law, issues of justice are of paramount concern. This indicates that use of negotiation support systems should be limited to domains in which principles of equity do not conflict with user satisfaction. When Family_Winner was used in a variety of other negotiation domains (international disputes, enterprise bargaining and company mergers) the advice offered strongly resembled the eventual negotiated outcome.

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872-880
Žnidaršič, M. and Bohanec, M.
Keywords:Decision Support Qualitative Multi-Attribute Decision Models Data-Driven Model Revision

Data-driven revision of decision models is defined as follows: given an existing model and a set of data items, revise the model to match the data items. In this paper, we propose and experimentally evaluate a method for the revision of qualitative hierarchical multi-attribute models in DEX methodology. The revision method is automatic, but limited to the modification of utility functions. Using a simple experimental model and simulated data, we show that the method is valid and that it improves the classification accuracy of the models.

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881-888
Zyngier, S., Burstein, F. and McKay, J.
Keywords:Knowledge Management Decision Support Innovation Governance Leadership Research-in-Progress

Knowledge management is a strategy to support enhanced decision making through effective control of organizational knowledge. This paper presents a preliminary investigation into the governance of strategies to manage knowledge and the relationship between such strategies and organizational structures. It finds that the federated information transfer model is the ‘best fit’ with a stakeholder model of governance which ensures accountability and responsibility for tasks meeting the needs of all organizational stakeholders. Further, the governance structure established may predicate the ability of the organization to effectively establish a strategy to manage their knowledge.

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889-899