2008 - Collaborative Decision Making Perspectives and Challenges

Toulouse, France, 1-4 July

Proceedings edited by P. Zaraté, J.P. Belaud, G. Camilleri & F. Ravat.

Title Pages
Briand, C., Ourari, S. and Bouzouiai, B.
Keywords:Cooperative Scheduling Flexibility Robustness Dominance

This paper focuses on job shop scheduling problems in a cooperative environment. Unlike classical deterministic approaches, we assume that jobs are not known in advance but occur randomly during the production process, as orders appear. Therefore, the production schedule is adapted in a reactive manner all along the production process. These schedule adaptations are made according to a cooperative approach, that is the major originality of this paper. Each resource manages its own local schedule and the global schedule is obtained by point to point negotiations between the various machines. We also suppose that local schedules are flexible since several alternative job sequences are allowed on each machine. This flexibility is the key feature that allows each resource, on the one hand, to negotiate with the others and, on the other hand, to react to unexpected events. The cooperative approach aims at ensuring the coherence between the local schedules while keeping a given level of flexibility on each resource.

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Daly, M., Adam, F. and Pomerol, J.-C.
Keywords:Decision Support Systems Representation Levels Models Managerial Decision Making

There is abundant evidence that the current business environment is pushing firms to invest increasing amounts of resources in sourcing state of the art IT capability. Some of this investment is directed towards developing the decision support capability of the firm and it is important to measure the extent to which this deployment of decision support is having a positive impact on the decision making of managers. Using existing theories, namely an adaptation of Humphreys’ representation levels (Humphreys, 1989), to classify the type of support which managers can get from their decision support tools, we investigated the portfolio of decision related applications available to managers in 5 Irish firms. Our findings indicate that not all firms can achieve the development of decision support tools across all the categories of the framework. Managers need to be able to spell out the problems they are facing, but also need to be in a situation where they have clear incentives to make the efforts required in investigating high level problems, before firms can be observed to have a complete portfolio of decision support tools, not merely a collection of static reporting tools.

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Brézillon, P.
Keywords:Contextual Graphs Collaborative Building of an Answer Decision Making Context

We describe how contextual graphs allow the analysis of oral corpus from person to person collaboration. The goal was to build a task model that would be closer to the effective task(s) than the prescribed task. Such a “contextu alized prescribed task” is possible, thanks to a formalism allowing a uniform rep resentation of elements of decision and of contexts. The collaborative process of answer building identified includes a phase of building of the shared context at tached to the collaboration, shared context in which each participant introduces contextual elements from his/her individual context in order to build the answer with the other. Participants in the collaborative building process agree on the con textual elements in the shared context and organize, assemble and structure them in a proceduralized context to build the answer. The proceduralized context build ing is an important key of the modeling of a collaborative decision making process.

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Mercier, S. and Tessier, C.
Keywords:Adaptive Autonomy HUman-Robot Interactions Authority Sharing Multi-Agent Systems

In the context of supervisory control of one or several artificial agents by a human operator, the definition of the autonomy of an agent remains a major challenge. When the mission is critical and in a real-time environment, e.g. in the case of unmanned vehicles, errors are not permitted while performance must be as high as possible. Therefore, a trade-off must be found between manual control, usually ensuring good confidence in the system but putting a high workload on the operator, and full autonomy of the agents, often leading to less reliability in uncertain environments and lower performance. Having an operator in the decision loop does not always grant maximal performance and safety anyway, as human beings are fallible. Additionally, when an agent and a human decide and act simultaneously using the same resources, conflicts are likely to occur and coordination between entities is mandatory. We present the basic concepts of an approach aiming at dynamically adjusting the autonomy of an agent in a mission relatively to its operator, based on a formal modelling of mission ingredients.

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Taghezout, N. and Zaraté, P.
Keywords:Multi-Agent Systems Negotiation Decision Support Systems Integrated Station of Production Dynamic Scheduling ELECTRE III

Agents and multi-agent systems constitute nowadays a very active field of research. This field is very multidisciplinary since it is sustained by Artificial Intelligence, Distributed Systems, Software Engineering, etc. In most agent applications, the autonomous components need to interact. They need to communicate in order to solve differences of opinion and conflicts of interest. They also need to work together or simply inform each other. It is however important to note that a lot of existing works do not take into account the agents’ preferences. In addition, individual decisions in the multi-agent domain are rarely sufficient for producing optimal plans which satisfy all the goals. Therefore, agents need to cooperate to generate the best multi-agent plan through sharing tentative solutions, exchanging sub goals, or having other agents’ goals to satisfy. In this paper, we propose a new negotiation mechanism independent of the domain properties in order to handle real-time goals. The mechanism is based on the well- known Contract net Protocol. Integrated Station of Production agents will be equipped with a sufficient behavior to carry out practical operations and simultaneously react to the complex problems caused by the dynamic scheduling in real situations. These agents express their preferences by using ELECTRE III method in order to solve differences. The approach is tested through simple scenarios.

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Buchs, M. and Hättenschwiler, P.
Keywords:Optimisation Model Visualisation Distributed Cooperative Decision Support Dicodess

Dicodess is a model based distributed cooperative decision support sys- tem. It encapsulates the underlying model in a graphical user interface to shield users from the technical details of model configuration and optimization. However, a model usually evolves over time and therefore needs verification accordingly. Furthermore, users sometimes might want to have a better insight into the model to better understand a ”strange” solution. Model views are a new concept for model- ing language and domain independent model visualization. The focus is not on vi- sualizing model input or model output but on the model’s structure, the formalized knowledge. Modelers as well as domain experts are able to inspect a model visually in order to get a better understanding and to have a common base of discussion. The improvement of model understanding and communication among the people involved will lead to models of better quality. In this article we are proposing an integration of model views into Dicodess. This integration enables mutual benefit: Dicodess users get direct access to model visualization which through Dicodess’ cooperative functionality can be done even in collaboration.

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Galasso, F. and Thierry, C.
Keywords:Supply Chain Simulation Collaboration Decision Theory Risk

To improve the supply chains performance, taking into account the customer demand in the tactical planning process is essential. It is more and more difficult for the customers to insure a certain level of demand over a medium term period. Then it is necessary to develop methods and decision support systems to reconcile the order and book processes. In this context, this paper aims at introducing a collaboration support tool and methodology dedicated to a dyadic supply chain. This approach aims at evaluating in term of risks different demand management strategies within the supply chain using a simulation dedicated tool. The evaluation process is based on an exploitation of decision theory and game theory concepts and methods.

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Kicin, S., Gringmuth, C. and Hemilä, J.

The slow progress to date regarding inter organizational collaborative decision management within manufacturing supply chains is due to a lack of common understanding of this concept, and the difficulty of integrating external requirements of customers and suppliers into opaque internal decision control. In this paper, we focus on the production management of dynamic manufacturing networks that is characterized by non centralized decision making. We set out to clarify internal decision collaboration concepts based on research and technology led on collaborative work and enterprise modeling techniques, and discuss how IT can support and improve business and managerial decision making within supply chains. This paper begins with examining the Communication Driven Decision Support System (DSS) concept and its integration within a supply chain point of view. A framework for inter organizational decision support is then discussed and linked to the traditional Decision Support Systems and the overall Information Management solutions. We conclude that the effectiveness of supply chain collaboration relies upon two factors: the level to which it integrates internal and external decisions at strategic, tactical and operational levels, and the level to which the efforts are aligned to the supply chain settings in terms of the geographical dispersion, the demand pattern, and the product characteristics.

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Peyraud, A., Jacquet-Lagreze, E., Merkuryeva, G., Timmermans, S., Verlhac, C. and De Vulpillieres, V.
Keywords:Mixed Integer Linear Problem Large-Scale Problem Cyclical Scheduling Supply Chain Management Forecast Genetic Algorithms

ECLIPS is a European research project, partially funded by the European Commission in the context of its Research Framework Programme 6. Six partners participate in this research project: MÖBIUS (Belgium), EURODECISION (France), LoQutus (Belgium), the Technical University of RIGA (Latvia), Huntsman Advanced Materials (Germany), PLIVA Lachema Diagnostika (Czech Republic). For more information about ECLIPS we recommend to visit the project web site www.eclipsproject.com. The overall goal of this project is to extend supply chain expertise to recent evolutions: globalisation, products diversification, and shortening of products life cycles. We consider that any life cycle can be divided into three phases: introduction, maturity and end of life. Three main issues are considered: Improve the statistical prediction of the demand at the beginning and at the end of a product life. Increase the profit during maturity phase by making cyclic the production at all levels of the process. From a pure mathematical point of view, Multi Echelon Cyclic Planning induces an additional cost. However, simplification of production management and increase of the manufacturing efficiency should counterbalance this cost. More generally, to improve the whole life cycle management of products in supply chain, including switches between the three phases.

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McCosh, A. M.
Keywords:Ethics Supply Chain Management Globalisation Competitiveness

The paper addresses the general nature of a supply chain as a human artifact with potential for greatness and for failure like any other. The exact nature of the possible failures and successes are discussed, and the ethical issues identified. The hazards of adversarial supply chain management, especially the more vicious forms of it, are identified. Intra-chain brutality is rarely as profitable as mutual supportiveness if we think, as the world’s first international lawyer said we should, prudently and well into the future. The paper concludes with one drastic example of what happens when we do not.

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Sujanto, F., Ceglowski, A., Burstein, F. and Churilov, L.
Keywords:Disaster Emergency Management Disaster Management Integrated Framework

Effective decision making plays a paramount role for successful emergency management (EM). Decisions should include collaborating inputs and feedback from a wide range of relevant emergency stakeholders such as emergency agencies, government, experts and communities. Although this kind of collaborative decision making is ideal, the process can be lengthy and complex. While there has been substantial research in EM, there is a lack of integrated frameworks to structure these contributions. Without an integrated framework, the decision making process can be inefficient and suggestions of the stakeholders may be neglected or excluded inadvertently. This paper presents the “Integrated Framework for Comprehensive Collaborative Emergency Management” (IFCCEM). IFCCEM aims to provide a collaborative mechanism so that all agencies as well as communities can contribute in the decision making. IFCCEM is based on the ‘All Hazards Approach’ and can be used by all agencies. The developed framework is illustrated with an application for collaborative decision making.

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Nguyen, L., Shanks, G., Vetere, F. and Howard, S.
Keywords:Health Information Systems Decision Making Information Needs Social Networking Culture Carer

While the important role of family as carer has been increasingly recog nised in healthcare service provision, particularly for patients with acute or chronic illnesses, the carer’s information and social needs have not been well understood and adequately supported. In order to provide continuous and home based care for the patient, and to make informed decisions about the care, a family carer needs sufficient access to medical information in general, the patient’s health information specifically, and supportive care services. Two key challenges are the carer’s lack of medical knowledge and the many carers with non English speaking and differ ent cultural backgrounds. The informational and social needs of family carers are not yet well understood. This paper analyses the web log of a husband carer who provided support for his wife, who at the time of care was a lung cancer patient. It examines the decision making journey of the carer and identifies the key issues faced in terms of informational and social practices surrounding care provision.

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Boff, E., Flores, C., Respício, A. and Vicari, R.
Keywords:Collaborative Learning Group Processes Medical Education Problem-Based Learning

This paper addresses collaborative learning in the medical domain. In particular, it focuses on the evaluation of a component specially devised to promote collaborative learning using AMPLIA. AMPLIA is an intelligent multi agent environment to support diagnostic reasoning and the modeling of diagnostic hypotheses in domains with complex, and uncertain knowledge, such as the medical domain. Recently, AMPLIA has been extended with a new component providing support in workgroup formation. Workgroups are proposed based on individual aspects of the students, such as learning style, performance, affective state, personality traits, and also on group aspects, such as acceptance and social skills. The paper also presents and discusses the results of an experiment evaluating the performance of workgroups composed according to suggestions provided by the system.

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O'Leary, D. E.
Keywords:Group Judgments Knowledge Set Consensus Judgment Probability Reasoning Reasoning Fallacies

Research in psychology has found that subjects regularly exhibit a conjunction fallacy in probability judgment. Additional research has led to the finding of other fallacies in probability judgment, including disjunction and conditional fallacies. Such analyses of judgments are critical because of the substantial amount of probability judgment done in business and organizational settings. However, previous research has been conducted in the environment of a single decision maker. Since business and other organizational environments also employ groups, it is important to determine the impact of groups on such cognitive fallacies. This paper finds that groups substantially mitigate the impact of probability judgment fallacies among the sample of subjects investigated. A statistical analysis, based on a binomial distribution, suggests that groups investigated here did not use consensus. Instead, if any one member of the group has correct knowledge about the probability relationships, then the group uses that knowledge and does not exhibit fallacy in probability judgment. These results suggest that at least for this setting, groups have a willingness to collaborate and share and use knowledge from the group.

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Meredith, R. A.
Keywords:IT Governance Decision Support Systems Evolutionary Development Structuration Theory

Information technology governance is the set of organizational structures that determine decision-making rights and responsibilities with regard to an organisation’s information technology assets. Although an important sub-field of information technology, little research has been done on the issues relating to the governance of decision support systems. This paper argues that decision support systems are significantly different to other kinds of information technology, and that this means there is a need to consider issues specific to their governance. Orlikowski’s [17] theory of the Structuration of Technology is used to highlight the fundamental differences between decision support systems and other kinds of information technology, and their respective relationships with organizational structures. Some preliminary recommendations and suggestions for further research into issues of decision support systems governance are made.

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Pince, A.-V. and Humphreys, P.
Keywords:Collaborative Decision Making Decision Support Networks Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises

In today’s global economy, and as a result of the complexity surrounding the working world, new ways of working are emerging. In particular, collaboration and networking gain increasing importance as they enable firms to face the new demands of a global economy. Within this context, it is necessary to understand how new ways of organising influence decision-making processes. This paper (i) explores the connection between networks and decision-making and (ii) tries to define how efficient networking can support reliable collaborative decision making .We argue that effective networking constitutes a fundamental support for decision-making. Our focus is on small and medium-sized companies where networking is particularly relevant because of their restricted means for action and resources. Our findings are based on seven semi-structured interviews, conducted within five French small and medium-sized companies. They confirm the allegation that enterprise decision-making is now embedded in network structures [3] and also offer a good basis for drawing guidelines, enabling effective networking and reliable decision-making.

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Kim, K. D. and Hossain, L.
Keywords:Centralisation Degree Centrality Group Behaviour Investment Behaviour Social Networks Visualisation

In this study, we visualise and interpret the relationships between different types of social network (SN) structures (i.e., degree centrality, cut points) and group behavior using political contribution dataset. We seek to identify whether investment behavior is network dependent using the political contribution dataset. By applying social networks analysis as a visualisation and interpretation technique, we find patterns of social network structures from the dataset, which explains the political contribution behavior (i.e., investment behavior) of political action committee (PAC). The following questions guide this study: Is there a correlation between SN structure and group behavior? Do we see patterns of different network structures for different types and categories of political contribution (i.e., support or oppose; level of contribution)? Is there a structural difference of networks between different types of support and oppose behavior? Do the group networks for support and oppose differ structurally on the basis of different types of political contribution patterns?

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Ochoa, S. F., Osorio, O. and Pino, J. A.
Keywords:Team Members' Evaluation Method Software Team Performance Evaluation of Cooperative Behaviour Work Group Diagnose IT Tool

Companies are increasingly encouraging employees to work cooperatively, to coordinate their activities in order to reduce costs, increase production, and improve services or just to augment the robustness of the organization. This is particularly relevant in the software industry where the available time frames are quite tight. However, many software companies do not formally evaluate their team performance because the available methods are complex, expensive, slow to deliver the results or error-prone. In case of software companies that evaluate team performance, they have also to deal with team members feeling about the fairness of such evaluations. This paper presents a method intended to evaluate the software team and their members’ performance in a simple and fast manner, involving also a low application cost. The method, called Team Evaluation Method (TEM), is supported by a software tool, which reduces the application effort. The proposal has been used to evaluate software development teams, and the obtained results are satisfactory.

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Phillips-Wren, G., Hahn, E. and Forgionne, G.
Keywords:Collaboration Multicriteria Decision Making Analytic Hierarchy Process Consensus

Developing consensus is crucial to effective collaborative decision making and is particularly difficult in cases involving disruptive technologies, a new technology that unexpectedly displaces an established technology. Collaborative decision making often involves multiple criteria. Multicriteria decision making (MCDM) techniques, such as the analytical hierarchy process (AHP) and multiattribute utility theory (MUAT), rely on the accurate assignment of weights to the multiple measures of performance. Consensus weighting within MCDM can be difficult to achieve because of differences of opinion among experts and the presence of intangible, and often conflicting, measures of performance. The method presented in this paper can be used to develop a consensus weighting scheme within MCDM. This paper presents a statistically- based method for consensus building and illustrates its use in the evaluation of a capital project involving the purchase of mammography equipment as disruptive technology in healthcare management. An AHP architecture is proposed to evaluate the best decision from the proposed.

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Price, R. and Shanks, G.
Keywords:Experimental Design Interaction Design Data Quality Tags Data Quality Decision Support Systems

Providing decision-makers with information about the quality of the data they are using has been empirically shown to impact both decision outcomes and the decision-making process. However, little attention has been paid to the usability and relevance of the data quality tags and the experimental materials used in studies to date. In this paper, we highlight the potential impact of these issues on experimental validity and propose the use of interaction design techniques to address this problem. We describe current work that applies these techniques, including contextual inquiry and participatory design, to improve the design and validity of planned data quality tagging experiments. The benefits of this approach are illustrated by showing how the outcomes of a series of contextual inquiry interviews have influenced the design of the experimental materials. We argue that interaction design techniques should be used more widely for experimental design.

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Strand, M. and Carlsson, S. A.
Keywords:Syndicate Data Suppliers Data Warehouse External Data Decision Support Systems Business Intelligence

In order to improve business performance and competitiveness it is im portant for firms to use data from their external environment. More and more at tention is directed towards data originating external to the organization, i.e., exter nal data. A firm can either collect this data or cooperate with an external data pro vider. We address the latter case and focus syndicate data suppliers (SDSs). They are the most common sources when incorporating external data into business intel ligence, DSS, and DW solutions. SDSs are specialized in collecting, compiling, re fining, and selling data. We provide a detailed description regarding the business idea of syndicate data suppliers and how they conduct their business, as well as a description of the industry of syndicate data suppliers. As such, the paper increases the understanding for external data incorporation and the possibility for firms to cooperate with syndicate data suppliers.

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Zurita, G., Antunes, P., Baloian, N., Baytelman, F. and Farias, A.
Keywords:Decision Making Elements Group Support Systems Handheld Devices

This paper discusses group decision making from a visual interactive perspective. The novelty of our approach is that its major focus is on developing a collection of visual interactive elements for group decision making. Our research departs from a collection of representative meeting scenarios to identify common decision making elements and behavior similarities; and to elaborate a collection of feature sets realizing those common elements and behavior into visual interactive artifacts. The paper also describes a handled application demonstrating the proposed feature sets. This application has been extensively used to support a wide range of meetings. An important contribution of this work is that the principle behind its approach to decision making relies almost exclusively on gestures over visual elements.

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Ochoa, S. F., Pino, J. A., Bravo, G., Dujovne, N. and Neyem, A.
Keywords:Mobile Collaboration Construction Industry Support of Directional Communication Mobile Shared Workspaces Loosely-Coupled Work

Typically, mobile shared workspaces are not used in the construction industry. However, they could play an important role to increase communication among workers, organize work more efficiently, reduce the coordination cost, and keep an updated overview of the project. This paper presents a MSW designed to support inspection processes in construction projects. This application allows mobile workers several functionalities, including doing annotations on digital maps, creating tasks linked to the annotations, synchronizing information of a project, collaborating ondemand and exchanging information among collaborators.

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Sammon, D. and Adam, F.
Keywords:Collaborative Approach ERP Project Team Work People Factor

There is an abundant literature on IS adoption, aimed at both the individual and organizational levels of analysis. This literature highlights the complexity of the process of IT adoption and implementation and the importance of carrying out relevant and applicable research in this area. The area of ERP adoption has been particularly rich in the last 15 years, as increasing numbers of companies acquired ERP with comparatively low success rates. In this paper, we hypothesise that the high failure rate of ERP implementations is related to the failure to adopt a truly collaborative approach in the ERP project. In order to verify our ideas, we carried out four case studies of firms having implemented ERP, seeking to confirm if there was a relation between the level of collaboration they had achieved and their level of success with the application. Our findings confirm the importance and core value of the People factor in the success of an ERP project – the Best Personnel Factor, as we labeled it, and of all the sub-factors connected to it, upstream and downstream, We conclude that, when these aspects of the collaborative process followed by organizations coherently fall into place, the probability of success with ERP is higher.

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Carton, F. and Adam, F.
Keywords:ERP Decision Making Collaboration Sales Orders Globalisation

ERP applications have been proposed as solution to many current operational problems. For instance, ERP support decision makers by making key data visible in a timely fashion. The price of this visibility is extensive standardisation of business processes. Multinationals in particular need to impose a common way of working throughout their different sites in order to better control performance. ERP systems provide a common language, using a shared data store and integrated business processes. At the same time, organisations are subject to constant evolution, where shareholder expectations, customer demands or organic growth may result in standard processes no longer “fitting” with reality. This paper reports on a mature ERP implementation, focusing on an element of operational decision making that is becoming increasingly collaborative: sales order fulfilment. Growing complexity in the products on offer have resulted in a fragmented supply chain, including the use of “cross docks” to combine third party products with in house elements on the same sales order. Commit date decisions for customer shipments, increasingly involve a high degree of collaboration between managers from the different plants. The study indicates that collaborative processes supported by highly integrated information systems do not always lead to more collaborative behaviour because the loss of flexibility imposed by the standardised processes constrains what organisational actors can or cannot do.

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Sammon, D. and Adam, F.
Keywords:ERP Implementation Critical Success Factors Comparative Method Sense Making Workshop

This paper reports on a novel approach to Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) project implementation and introduces the use of a sense-making workshop to facilitate an improved shared understanding of the Critical Success Factors (CSFs) for the implementation of such an IT innovation. The sense-making workshop strives to overcome hindering knowledge barriers by raising stakeholder awareness through the development of a logically minimal Boolean expression (truth function) which promotes discussion and a shared understanding as to the project preparations required for the successful implementation of an ERP package in an organisational context. The design of the sense-making workshop requires participants to use a set of CSFs for ERP project implementation and a simple scenario in order to retrospectively make sense of the actions taken during the ERP project (represented in the scenario) and therefore represent their individual understanding as a truth function. A process of Boolean minimisation is then used (facilitated through the construction of a truth table and a prime implicant chart) to achieve logically maximum parsimony in the form of a logically minimal Boolean expression (truth function) which is representative of the workshop participants’ shared understanding of the CSFs at play in the scenario.

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Annebicque, D., Crevits, I., Poulain, T. and Debernard, S.
Keywords:Multicriteria Decision Making Repertory Grid Human Machine Cooperation Situation Awareness Air Traffic Control

This paper presents an approach which has for objective to model new tools allowing to help the controllers to assume the incessant increase of the air traffic (actual version of the platform AMANDA V2), as well as help them in the negotiation phase and cooperation with their counterparts of adjacent sector (objectives of the new version of AMANDA). Help them in furnishing some tools able to quickly share information, and to maintain good common situation awareness. An approach is proposed, it is divided in three main phases. A first phase which consists of understand and to model the decision making process of controllers. The second phase introduces a multiple criteria decision making methodology. This Methodology has for objective to understand in more details the activities of controllers and the cases of cooperation with adjacent sectors. Finally, the last phase is the operational level of the approach, and consists of an application of repertory grid methodology in order to guide the interviews with the different participants of the study. This will allow realizing the knowledge acquisition, keeping in mind objective to develop new tools. To conclude this paper, the last part presents an example of application of this approach and the first results.

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Lederman, R. and Johnston, R. B.
Keywords:Decision Making Deliberative Theory Situated Action Collaborative Systems

This paper challenges the idea of calling the activity that occurs in many collaborative systems “decision making”. It suggests that the term decision making implies a level of deliberation which does not appear to reflect the reality of how activity takes place in these systems. To examine this, the paper selects a type of system discussed previously in the CSCW literature, a whiteboard based scheduling system in an intensive care ward. It finds in fact that much of the activ ity that occurs in this system is reactive and routine. It shows why the design of this system reduces the need for actors to evaluate choices (when choosing is the hallmark of decision making) and instead allows activity to take place routinely through situated choices.

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Garcia, A., Noyes, D. and Clermont, P.
Keywords:Collaborative Decision Making Maintenance ICT Performance Evaluation Knowledge Management

This communication deals with the implication of the intangible resources required to maintenance operations (knowledge and skill) and, more particularly, for their localization relative to the implementation site. The performance of the maintenance function is directly indexed with the availability of knowledge related resources which are required. We study the performance effects of the local and external (via the e service) knowledge distribution. A formulation of the problem is elaborated to evaluate the e maintenance impact at these situations, preceding a step of optimization. A simulation tool is suggested in order to model e maintenance situations and to evaluate the knowledge availability required to maintenance operations. We present the principle of the simulator with the implication of one actor of maintenance and with the combined implication of two actors.

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Zoltay-Paprika, Z.
Keywords:Strategic Decision Making Rationality Intuition

This paper reports the results of a study that attempts to assess the effects of decision making circumstances focusing mainly on the approaches applied and the managerial skills and capabilities the decision makers built on during concrete strategic decision making procedures. The study was conducted in California between September 2005 and June 2006 and it was sponsored by a Fulbright Research Scholarship Grant. The continuation of the research is sponsored by the OTKA 68799 Research Grant.

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Wijnen, R. A. A., Chin, R. T. H., Walker, W. E. and Kwakkel, J. H.
Keywords:Mainport Planning Multi-Actor Systems Decision Support Systems Software Architecture Uncertainty

A mainport is a large transport hub (airport or seaport) with multi modal connections. Mainport strategic planning develops long term plans for matching capacity and demand while staying within environmental constraints and achieving financial success. Mainport planning is difficult, since it involves many stakeholders, multiple (often conflicting) criteria, uncertainty about the future, and many potential strategic plans. Many mainport strategic plans have resulted in costly failures, due in part to the processes and tools the planners use. They often consider only a single forecast for the future, consider few alternative strategies, and exclude stakeholders, resulting in plans that quickly become obsolete and may be opposed by stakeholders. Avoiding such failures requires an integrated approach to decision support that enables collaboration among stakeholders. Such an approach requires an effective way to deal with many inputs and outputs enabling the extraction of relevant information for decisionmaking and its presentation in transparent and understandable ways. We propose a Decision Support System (DSS) that provides a way for decisionmakers and stakeholders to quickly and easily generate alternative strategic plans and evaluate them with respect to a large number of outcomes of interest for a wide range of plausible scenarios. This paper describes an architecture for such a DSS.

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Norese, M. F. and Borrelli, S.
Keywords:ELECTRE TRI Public Administration Monitoring Process Collaborative Problem Formulation Decision Making

The Piedmont Region Financial Institute has had to construct a proce dure and a system to monitor projects that a regional law has financed. In this con text, the integration of a new data reading approach in a monitoring procedure has been proposed and a multi criteria decision aiding method, ELECTRE TRI, has been applied to the problem, first to explain a possible use of the acquired informa tion and then to be integrated in the information system. The Model base of the prototype system was used, as a shared space and a common framework, to better understand the aims and information needs of the monitoring process and therefore to read data and orient information acquisition. The application of ELECTRE TRI to the models analytically synthesizes the information elements, to face the diffi culties of the monitoring process in its different phases and to support decisions, in terms of modifications and integrations of activities for future law applications.

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Liu, S., Duffy, A. H. B., Whitfield, R. I. and Boyle, I. M.
Keywords:Hybrid Integration Approach Decision Support Environment Organisational Decision Making Flexibility Reliability

Traditional decision support systems are based on the paradigm of a single decision maker working at a stand-alone computer or terminal who has a specific decision to make with a specific goal in mind. Organisational decision support systems aim to support decision makers at all levels of an organisation (from executive, middle management managers to operators), who have a variety of decisions to make, with different priorities, often in a distributed environment. Such systems are designed and developed with extra functionality to meet the challenge. This paper proposes an Integrated Decision Support Environment (IDSE) for organisational decision making. The IDSE is designed and developed based on distributed client/server networking, with a combination of tight and loose integration approaches for information exchange and communication. The prototype of the IDSE demonstrates a good balance between flexibility and reliability.

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Bohanec, M. and Žnidaršič, M.
Keywords:Model-Based Decision Support Systems Qualitative Multi-Attribute Decision Models Expert Collaboration Application in Agronomy Genetically Modified Crops

Genetically modified (GM) crops have become a real option in modern agriculture. They offer advantages for agricultural production, but they also raise concerns about their ecological and economic impacts. Decisions about GM crops are complex and call for decision support. This paper presents an application of qualitative multi-attribute modeling methodology DEX to the development of model-based decision support systems in two European research projects, ECOGEN and SIGMEA. Three main multi-attribute models were developed for the assessment of GM-crop impacts in terms of (1) economy and ecology, (2) soil quality, and (3) co-existence. All these models were developed in collaboration of domain experts and decision analysts using the software tool DEXi. In the paper, we describe the applied methodology and outline the three models, their implementation and some results of their application. In particular, we discuss our lessons learned and highlight the strong and weak points of this approach.

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Adla, A., Zaraté, P. and Soubie, J.-L.
Keywords:Group Decision Support Systems Distributed Facilitation Distributed Decision Making

Most meetings are perceived to be extremely unproductive in terms of efficiently utilizing the participants’ time and effectively achieving the meeting objectives. Indeed, meetings consume a great deal of time and effort in organizations. These problems occur frequently because effective guidelines or procedures are not used. To overcome these problems, we propose in this paper a framework for distributed facilitation incorporating a model of the decision making processes. In this framework many group facilitation tasks are automated, at least partially to increase the ability of the facilitator to monitor and control the meeting process.

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Nantiyakul, R. and Meredith, R. A.
Keywords:Corporate Performance Management Data Quality Data Warehouse Evolutionary Development Design Science

Corporate Performance Management (CPM) has been recognised as having an important role to play in the effective management of organisations. However, a number of researchers have identified that developing IT support for CPM systems can be difficult. Developers need methods and tools to guide CPM system development. Using a design-science approach, this paper describes the use of a CPM systems development method, RED-CPM, and a CPM systems development environment, Performatica, at a large manufacturing company.

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Eom, S. B.
Keywords:Theory Practice Reference Disciplines Dependent Variables Cumulative Research Tradition

As the progress in the DSS area continues, periodic evaluations of DSS research are often necessary to examine critical issues in DSS area. This paper examines current state, problems, opportunities, and future research directions of DSS research, and. Using author co-citation analysis approach, this research provides the answers to the several key questions posed by Keen and Kuhn. Kuhn believes that in order for any scientific communities to transit from the pre- to post paradigm period, we need to know who we are as the members of scientific community and what we share between the member of the DSS area and what academics and practitioners in DSS share. Keen addressed three main needs of MIS research to be a coherent field. They are clarification of reference disciplines, defining the dependent variables, and building a cumulative tradition. This research aims to answer those five questions. We suggest that DSS researchers need to look at possible changes of research directions from empirical research emphasis to broaden its scope to take a new approach: the design science paradigm.

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Stanek, S., Sroka, H., Kostrubala, S. and Twardowski, Z.
Keywords:Context-Aware Decision Support Ubiquitous Computing User Context User Interfaces

Abstract. The paper presents the results of the authors’ continued research on effective computer support for the decision making process. The recent evolution of the corporate world has made it necessary to offer computer support to mobile decision makers. As the contemporary organization’s operations have gained unprecedented momentum and its structures are becoming networked or virtual, managers increasingly often make decisions from remote locations and within different time frames. This awareness has encouraged the authors to direct experiments with their research vehicle, the Intelligent Compute Strategy Game, toward a ubiquitous decision support system (ubiDSS), with a view to developing the Game into a fully-fledged management training tool. The paper describes the rationale as well as the technicalities and, in addition, delivers a description of a sample game session.

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ClÍmaco, J., Costa, J. A., Dias, L. C. and Melo, P.

We present the VIP Analysis plug-in of Decision Deck 1.1, a platform that hosts different evaluation methods to assist decision makers in the collaborative evaluation of alternatives in a multi-criteria and multi-experts setting. VIP Analysis is a tool for aggregation of multicriteria performances by means of an additive value function under imprecise information. It allows conducting a multicriteria analysis for selecting an alternative when the decision makers are not able to (or do not wish to) fix precise values for the importance parameters. These parameters are seen as variables that may take several values subject to constraints. VIP Analysis incorporates different methods to support the progressive reduction of the number of alternatives, introducing a concept of tolerance that lets decision makers use some of the methods in a more flexible manner. The original VIP Analysis was programmed in the late 1990s using Borland Delphi, whereas the Decision Deck version was programmed in Java and accesses data stored as a (possibly remote) MySQL database. Its main innovation is to allow several users working on the same problem under different roles: coordinator, evaluator, and decision-maker.

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Csáki, C.
Keywords:Public Procurement Regulatory Environment Tender Evaluation Methodology Award Criteria Decision Theory Decision Support

Changes in the regulatory environment require the reengineering of existing business processes – and decision making processes are no exception. Decision related to procurement and supplier relationships have far-reaching effects. When Hungary has joined the EU in 2004 the accession brought on changes for the energy market as all players became subject to the Act on Public Procurement. This paper reports on how a Hungarian firm coped with the challenge of moving from commercial procurement to accommodate the requirements of Public Procurement rules. As research results indicate, the key to their success was strong leadership and the development of a decision process based on collaboration.

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Wurtz, M. S. and Power, D. J.
Keywords:Second Life Virtual Worlds Training

Using virtual worlds such as the Second Life environment for Decision Support activities will require large investments in training. This paper argues that following the processes described by Robert F. Mager for basing the design of in structional strategies and materials on thorough preliminary analyses (Goal Analy sis, Performance Problem Analysis, Skills Hierarchy Analysis and Participant As sessment), will ensure that the training is effective and efficient and that several common pitfalls will be avoided. These analyses are themselves a decision support system in that the analyses will suggest that certain training expectations and proc esses will be effective but the analyses do not dictate every aspect of the design of instructional strategies and materials. Designing effective training in this area will include beta testing and/or control group experimentation. Several questions for testing and/or experimentation are posed.

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Salles, M.
Keywords:Public Decision Support Systems Group Decision Making Result Indicators Ontology Polydoxies

This paper addresses the issue of public decision support in regional economic development, being more particularly concerned with result indicators definition. The decisions taken within such a framework necessarily are coopera tive in nature and involve various players, even though the culture of decision making and cooperation is almost nonexistent in the regional governments. In this context, the definition of result indicators requires the reformulation of generally vague and non quantified objectives. The conception of decision support systems therefore calls for prior considerable work on the decision system itself. The first part of this paper gives a general survey of regional economic policy definition. The second part focuses on the knowledge that may be identified in the texts of the Midi Pyrenees Regional Council. The analysis is carried out on the basis of a three level grid (representations, models, norms). The third and last part proposes an ontology co building approach on regional development, illustrated by exam ples from the CAVALA project. The ontologies presented respect the heterogene ity of the various players’ views of the world. They facilitate the players’ aware ness of the different views of the world at stake and help explain the concepts they use.

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Saad, I., Grundstein, M. and Rosenthal-Sabroux, C.
Keywords:Multicriteria Decision Aid Dominance-Based Rough Set Approach Decision Rules Knowledge Management

In this paper we present a Multi criteria Classification Methodology for identifying and evaluating crucial knowledge. We aim to identify, on the one hand, the explicit and tacit crucial knowledge to be preserved in the organizational memory, and on the other hand the tacit knowledge that is hard to formalize.

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