GDSS: Mediated Group Meetings Facilitated by Technology

Seminar Paper, 2000

11 Pages

Free online reading

1. Introduction

The purpose of this paper is to acquaint the reader with (GDSS) group decision support systems. Some of the basics differences that occur between (ICC) interaction computer conferences and mediated conferences aided by technology will be described by three examples. Finally, a discussion of impact on groups using GDSS will follow.

2. Background information

It is necessary to understand that the term “group meeting“ has centuries of history (Collins-Jarvis & Fulk, in press), but that mediated meetings aided by GDSS software as a facilitator to guide them only showed to be fully developed in the last few years.

The word “meeting” could be defined as “The act of gathering together for a limited period of time for the purpose of communication” (Collins-Jarvis & Fulk, in press) which illustrates the typical scene of group members facing each other around a table. New and highly sophisticated electronic technology is used today for the purpose of interaction between members of a group without having to physically meet at the same place (McGrath & Hollingshead, 1994). However, GDSS is mainly designed to improve group effectiveness (Kelly, Poole, & Sambamurthy, 1993) and to meet the organizational decision-making demands in the 21st century (Smith, 1998).

3. What is GDSS?

The authors of the book “Groups Interacting With Technology” are referring the term “GDSS” (group decision support system) as a type of EMS (electronic meeting systems). It is used in today’s conversation as a general terminology combining “communication, computer (McGrath, & Hollingshead, 1994), and decision technologies to support the formulation and solution of unstructured problems by a group” (Connolly, Galegher & Jessup, 1990). “GDSS includes idea creation, message exchange, project planning, document preparation, mutual product creation, joint planning, and joint decision making” (McGrath, & Hollingshead, (1994). Any group could discuss issues or exchange messages through ICC (interacting computer conference) also called “instant messenger”1. As a mediated communication system, ICC is not supported by decision tools, graphic displays, or meeting process management software (Collins-Jarvis & Fulk, in press). In short ICC is a mediated communication system functioning without GDSS.

4. Efficient ICC are Guided

Our group “KDAZ” had the opportunity to experience ICC (interactive computer conference). Our first comment at the end of the thirty-minute meeting was “cool, that was a good experience!” However we did not cover any issues relevant to our group, and as soon we tried to get into it, we found ourselves confused with uncontrollable flow of the conversation. The conclusion of this ICC session could be qualified as a chatting period.


Passages of the first ICC session between the members of the group “KDAZ”

(Member A left the ICC accidentally; Member B recalled the E-address of member A to get back in the conversation) A> thanks B


B> I am so smart !!!

A> hahaha! Yes you are J

A> thanks a millllliiiionnnnnnnnn! A> did I miss anything?

B> youre welcome A

C> you got into that stuff pretty fast A> You bet she did!

B> Now where were we?

C> OK I have 3 and A as 1 self report A> Who is missing?

B> JOHN and SUE are late

A> John says that he will pass it to u on ..? when?

C> HE said that he will put it on my mail box, annd he left a messgea on sue’s B> Well, I like the idea of anonymousness or whatever the word is

A> When did he say he will do that

- - - - - - - - - - - - - -

C> I have a question

A> Yeah … B, that is a good idea A> Ask ahead C

C> about haveiing to the next meetiing agande before B> See im so slow im always a topic behind

A> B: ask C about that A> No, u’re not.

B> Yes I am

A> C: u mean prepare an agenda for the next meeting?

c> If we get an agenda and a guide for the next for the next computer meeting we will know very precisely what are the most imprtant to talk Oand get some better brainstomring done

(11th of March 2000) However, if the setting stays the same but, instead of having only group members

interacting, the group is led by an expert, the expert would function in a similar role that GDSS would. For instance, opening communication channels, informing members of the group progress, regulating the conversation flow (McGrath, & Hollingshead, 1994), structuring the meeting, suggesting answers, and giving commentaries provides a task oriented style of interaction (Kirn & O’Hare, 1997) and plays a leadership role. (Sosik, 1997). During this experience I felt that ICC needed to be guided in order to have an effective interaction. At the end the thirty-minute session, I could not believe how many issues we covered. According to Aiken & Riggs, such computer system records all comments during meetings (1997). Although the complete conversation could be saved on Floppy disks and then print, it is possible right away to select the important information and learn them.


Passages of ICC study session led by an expert in Developmental Psychology

> Instructor>>Thanks for testing this out with me—how is the studying

> going so far?

> Guest Guest>>How are you going to lead the session

> Instructor>>I thought it would be easiest to start out by asking you

> to ask questions/seek clarification rather than me just typing a

> lot

> of overview

> Instructor>>Are there particular topics that were confusing to you?

> Guest Guest>>About

> Guest Guest_#2>>cognitive and the information processing theory

> ->->->-> Guest Guest_#3 connected at: Mon Dec 6 1999 10:08:23

> Guest Guest_#2>>i get confused sometimes

> Instructor>>OK. In general, cognitive theories explain all aspects

> of development based on what kids know. Their

> behavior/interactions

> with the world are guided by their level of cognitive/intellectual

> development. Thinking comes first for these theories.

- - - - - - -- - -

> Instructor>>What I'm getting at here is that "fit" between child and

> environment. If we assume that temperament is determined to some

> extent by genetics, then those kids who are born in an environment

> which is not equipped to handle the intense reactions, for example,

> will be likely to have problems. Similarly, an easy baby born in

> an

> environment that does not capitalize on that temperament might not

> be as successful as we would expect

> Instructor>>#3 What do you mean by "experience problems"?

> Guest Guest_#3>>because if they withdrawl from new experiences all

> the time.they will not adjust

> Instructor>>So, by withdrawing from experiences, they do not have a

> chance to learn how to get along apropriately, learn new skills,

> etc...that makes sense and is a good way to think about it.

> Importantly, remember too that their withdrawal and reactions will

> influence others in their environment.

> Guest Guest_#3>>soone bad apple ruins the whole environment?

> Instructor>>No, let me try to be more clear.

> Instructor>>A "bad apple" can be caused by the tree from which it

> came (genetics) or a dry season (environment).

> Guest Guest_#5>>nice exemple

> Instructor>>Depending on where the apple is stored, the impact on

> the environment will differ,

> Guest Guest_#3>> to go

- - - - - - - - - - -

> Instructor>>What do you guys think about the format of this for a

> study session? Has it been easy to follow? hard? Suggestions?

> Guest Guest_#4>>Pretty easy to follow. I came in late and caught

> right on.

> Guest Guest_#5>>This is a motivating& great way to learn. Thank you

> :)

> Guest Guest_#5>>Too bad that is is not possible to copy what has been

> said

> Guest Guest_#4>>There is #5

> Guest Guest_#2>>sorry about the private msg, was just clicking

> around..

> Instructor>>Actually, I might be able to do that if you are interested.

(December 6, 1999 10:29 AM)

Those ICC sessions show that mediated technology is passive and only offers the potential for communication (Lipnack & Stamps, 1997). However, if aided by a simple guideline with a few rules on how the ICC should be led, it will produce some noticeable differences on the performance of the group. Considering that using ICC led the group to chat, if the group used a clearer guideline, its ability to make good decisions would improve. Furthermore, it implies that when companies select software to best meet their needs, it is exceedingly necessary to leverage the entire organization’s skills and to amplify the issues of process change (Best, 1997).


Email sent to members of the group “KDAZ”

Dear KDAZ, Thank you much about the Computer Interaction Conference of yesterday. I went through and did a little analysis in order to be more ready and effective for the next time we decide to do it all together.

1. We should have an agenda ready a couple day before, and have at least each one question ready before the actual ICC.

2. When we get into the conference, the initiator should write down the first topic and then give the time to other to formulate the appropriate question; the same process to answer them

3. We’ll decide together before that the initiator throws the next topic on the conversation

That is all for now. Please feel free to complete this list in order to have an effective interacting computer conference the next time.

(12th of March 2000)


Passages of the second ICC session between the members of the group “KDAZ” All members read the suggested ICC guide and had an agenda typed in front of them

D: so now, we all have something to discuss?

B: so after zuie reports the minutes from this meeting who will talk first

C: THANK YOU B FOR YOur support, remember the last time ALEXIS WAS NOT READY, she did a bit of reading about feedback and was very ready the next day, DR> YELSMA HAD No critick on her

A: okay C, B and D, what do u guys want to talk abotu tomorrow?

B: I will discuss the socioemotional aspects of the RH group and how cohesiveness emerged. And you guys can listen and put in your imput about my topic . Then someone else will do

Alexiskrymis: the do was supposed to be a "go"

A: okay. dan suggested a good idea of going through KDAZ. so, D will talk first, then C, then B, and then Me

B: good idea

D: when? Tommorow?

B: yes

A: yeah..

A: k, C. wat r u going to talk about?

B: 1:00 in BROWN Hall

C:we have one topic. good, we are four good. we have four individual infos for aour individual paper ,and in addtion we did anlayse the meeting of thursday from four differnet perspectives, roles, socio em., task, ans important stetemenemt, tle print all aourt charts, 4 times and we will discuss from each perspective

A: Yes C! :)

B: will we discuss the charts

B:are those valid sources?A: I will talk about mineA: yes, they are


C:YES, B< first round the charts, perspective from each, then analysis of hte RH meeting from individual paper perspctive,

B: So you see, D, you already have some sources!!


A: C also suggested that each of us take 10 minutes.. i think we can only have 7 minutes


C:that right

A: do TIME urself


C:we can chack our watsch

B: you gave me the task graphs i think



B: C after youre done typing please answer my ?


C:There are 30 minutes right, we are divising presentation in two parts, one will each tallk about our analysis persective, roles, soc em... and durin the second part we will relates our individuals paper soucre to the same meeting. that means, first part 15 minutes, and second part 15 minutes, 15 divised by 4 = we will eac time talk about 4 mintues. Trust me we can do it

A: That's a GOOD IDEA!

A: in order to do that, we have to be really REALLY good at timing ourselves

A: but it really is

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - --

D: please do A...

B: oh youre still wiwth us kk. good.

A: The agenda for tomorrow will look like thisA:1. i'll review our previous meeting's minutesA: 2. We'll talk about the RH GROUP

A: 3. D will go first -- she'll take 7 minutes

A: 4. C next - 7 minutes

A: 5. B goes next - 7 minues

A: 6. Me last – 7 minutes

B: GREAT! Sounds good.

- - - - - - - - -- --

(19th of March 2000)

The conclusion of the third example illustrated above shows that ICC meetings may be affected by negative socioemotional expression, problems reaching consensus, and difficulties in competing the task in a timely manner (Collins-Jarvis & Fulk, in press). On the other hand, results of experiments showed that group meetings using GDSS had help members to manage process difficulties and led them to make more efficient decisions than having only ICC as a simple communication medium (Collins- Jarvis & Fulk, in press). In essence, groups meeting facilitated by GDSS are shoving a greater contribution from its members than without (Daily & Steiner, 1998). This is a noticeable fact that during the first ICC session (EXAMPLE I) the group members had a low task-interaction. However, during the second ICC session (EXAMPLE II) “KDAZ” was aided by a guideline and an agenda. The group had a more concentrated discussion and everybody stayed focused on the issues throughout the meeting (Aiken & Riggs, 1993)

5. Impacts on Groups aided by GDSS

GDSS impacts groups in several ways. First of all groups facilitated by GDSS overcome common problem such as domination of discussion by one or more members (Easton & Scott, 1996). Since groups are connected from anywhere in the world, the authors Connolly, Galegher & Jessup report from their experiments that groups interact often anonymously. It has been proven that group members knowing each other while interacting exert greater physical or mental effort than those that never met (1990). In his article, Sosik suggests that GDSS needed in addition to be effectively paired with a transformational leadership style (1997). GDSS has been contributing greatly to ethnic minorities that normally have their status lowered during face to face meetings. In fact, it has even been shown on different experiments that “multicultural groups provide a wider range of thought and greater number of alternatives to a posed problem than culturally homogeneous groups.”

4. Conclusion

Group decision support systems have been the main focus of this paper. Our group “KDAZ” met and experienced ICC. We interacted through ICC during the first session. During the second session, we supported our meeting with written guideline and an agenda. In short, this simulation was meant to show how “digital guidelines” (GDSS) can help a group have a productive meeting. Innovative technology has improved so much lately that software can assist a group in providing suggestions for the solution to a problem (Smith, 1998). Finally, Smith mention in his book that high computer technology is not capable for making high-quality and rapid decisions-- it can only help. Computer software is created by humans for humans. Both the software maker and the user should have an understanding of how human beings think and behave as well as how the technology decisions process is linked to human behavior (1998).

5. References

Aiken, M. & Riggs, M. (1993). Using a Group Decision System Making for Creativity.

Journal of Creative Behavior.1, 29-34

Best, J. D. (1997).The Digital Organization: Alliedsignal’s Success with Business Technology.John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Collins-Jarvis, L., & Fulk, J. (in press). Wired Meetings: Technological Mediation of Organizational Gatherings.New Handbook of Organizational Communication.1-28. Retrieved February 28, 2000 from the World Wide Web:

Connolly, T., Galegher, J. & Jessup, L. M. (1990). The Effects of Anonymity on GDSS Group Process With an Idea-Generating Task.MIS Quarterly.9, 313-319

Daily, B. F. & Steiner R. L. (1998). The Influence of Group Decision Support Systems on Contribution and Commitment Levels in Multicultural and Culturally Homogenous Decision-Making Groups.Computers in Human Behavior.1, 147- 162.

Easton, A. C. & Scott C. R. (1996). Examining Equality of Influence in Group Decision Support System Interaction.Small group research.3, 360-382.

Kelly, J., Poole, M. S. & Sambamurthy, V. (1993). The Effects of Variations in GDSS Capabilities on Decision-Making Processes in Groups.Small Group Research.4, 523-546

Kirn, S. & O’Hare, G. (1997).Cooperative Knowledge Processing.Liverpool, UK: Springer-Verlag London Limited

Lipnack, J. & Stamps, J. (1997).Virtual Teams: Reaching Across Space, Time, and Organizations with Technology.John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

McGrath, J. E., & Hollingshead, A. B. (1994).Groups Interacting With Technology.

Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, Inc.

Smith, Ch. L. (1998),Computer-Supported Decision Making: Meeting the Decision Demands of Modern Organizations.Greenwich, CT: Ablex Publishing Corporation.

Sosik, J. J. (1997). Effects of Transformational Leadership and Anonymity on Idea Generation in Computer-Mediated Groups.Groupos & Organization Management.4, 460-487.


1 is an example of free downloadable software that offers ICC

11 of 11 pages


GDSS: Mediated Group Meetings Facilitated by Technology
Catalog Number
ISBN (eBook)
File size
355 KB
Check out:
GDSS, Mediated, Group, Meetings, Facilitated, Technology
Quote paper
Daniel Sciboz (Author), 2000, GDSS: Mediated Group Meetings Facilitated by Technology, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


  • No comments yet.
Read the ebook
Title: GDSS: Mediated Group Meetings Facilitated by Technology

Upload papers

Your term paper / thesis:

- Publication as eBook and book
- High royalties for the sales
- Completely free - with ISBN
- It only takes five minutes
- Every paper finds readers

Publish now - it's free