This chapter is about mobile multimedia and its usage in group decisions. With respect to the complexity of mobile decision scenarios, this paper presents the foundation for engineering mobile group decision support systems. Mobile multimedia allows the adaptation of information technology to the increasing mobile work practice with location independent access to information resource. This spatial and temporal flexibility strongly affects group behaviour in decision scenarios. As a prerequisite for identifying the potential of mobile technology a set of indicators is identified. Using these indicators an exemplary decision process is presented and evaluated according potential for mobile support and mobile needs. Analysing the scenario leads to particular implementation requirements on interaction, spatial distribution, and temporal distribution to be respected in mobile group decision support systems.
Group Decision Theory
Group decisions as communication processes focus on particular contexts in which a set of more than two people need to reach a common result in answering a question or in solving a problem. A group decision occurs as the result of interpersonal communication (the exchange of information) among the members for detecting and structuring a problem, generating alternative solutions to the problem, and evaluating the solutions (DeSanctis et al., 1987).
The target of decision support tools is the minimization of decision effort with satisfactional decision quality. Following Janis and Mann (1977), decision makers, within their information process capabilities, canvas a wide range of alternative courses of action. They survey the full range of objectives to be fulfilled and the values implicated by the choice; carefully weigh the costs and risks of consequences. Decision makers intensively search for new information or expert judgment that is relevant to further evaluation of the alternatives. Additionally a decision maker needs to be aware of decision constraints (money, time, norms…), respects actors and their needs affected by the course of action, and documents decision for further post decision process evaluation and argumentation.
Vigilant information processing and a high degree of selectivity ought to save the decision maker from unproductive confusion, unnecessary delays, and waste of resources in a fruitless quest for an elusive, faultless alternative.
Nowadays technology can assist decision makers not only in selective information retrieval and algorithmic methodology in the judgment of alternatives. They can also direct the decision makers in a process-oriented walkthrough of decisions to avoid post-decisional regret.