The effects of electronic meeting support on large and small decision-making groups.
Keywordsgroup support systems
group decision support systems
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractThis research compared the use of an electronic meeting system tool to a manual group process in large and small groups in a controlled laboratory experiment. Outcomes measured include the quality of decision, the time taken in various stages of the decision making process, and group member satisfaction. A research model of the variables influencing group decision making was developed. The six independent variables included in this model are group size, the rule by which the group makes a decision, the incentives driving the group, the distribution of useful information within the group, the task complexity, and the meeting support (electronic or manual). In this research group size and method of support were manipulated, while the other variables were controlled. A decision-making task was developed for this research to specify and manipulate the six independent variables. The task described a product mix problem in which information on each product was given to group members. The group shared information and jointly determined an outcome. The group used an unanimous decision rule to choose a solution. A numerical outcome was used to objectively measure decision quality. Each member of the group received a cash payoff determined by the group's solution as incentive in accomplishing the task. All groups found the optimal solution. The simplicity of the task may have minimized the differences found between groups. There was no significant difference in general member satisfaction or time to decision. Prior knowledge was found to influence general member satisfaction and the time needed for the group to share information. Members of large groups perceived more uneven distribution of participation than members of small groups. Voting differences were very large: large groups took significantly more votes than small groups, and electronic groups took significantly more votes than manual groups. "Conjunctive" and "disjunctive" task descriptions are used to discuss task/tool interaction.
Degree ProgramBusiness Administration