• A Multi-Agent View of Strategic Planning Using Group Support Systems and Artificial Intelligence

      Orwig, Richard E.; Chen, Hsinchun; Vogel, D.; Nunamaker, Jay F. (Kluwer, 1996)
      The strategic planning process is dynamic and complex. Including a Group Support System (GSS) in the problem-solving process can improve the content quality of the strategic plan by allowing increased participation by more members of the organization. However, it can also add to the complexity of the problem by increasing the quantity of textual information that can result from group activity. Added complexity increases cognitive overload and frustrations of those participants negotiating the contents of the strategic plan. This article takes a multi-agent view of the strategic planning process. It considers group participants as multiple agents concerned with the content quality of the strategic plan. The facilitator agent is responsible for guiding groups in the strategic plan construction process as well as for solving process problems such as cognitive overload. We introduce an AI Concept Categorizer agent, a software tool that supports the facilitator in addressing the process problem of cognitive overload associated with convergent group activities by synthesizing group textual output into conceptual clusters. The implementation of this tool reduces frustrations which groups encounter in the process of classifying textual output and provides more time for discussion of the concepts themselves. Because of the large amount of convergent activity necessary for strategic planning, the addition of the AI Concept Categorizer to the strategic planning process should increase the quality of the strategic plan and the buy-in of the participants in the strategic planning process.