How Groupware Systems Can Change How an Organisation Makes Decisions: A Case Study in the Publishing Industry

How Groupware Systems Can Change How an Organisation Makes Decisions: A Case Study in the Publishing Industry

Frédéric Adam (University College Cork, Ireland), Jean-Charles Pomerol (Université Pierre et Marie Curie, France) and Patrick Brézillon (University Paris 6, France and Université Pierre et Marie Curie, France)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59904-843-7.ch049
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In this article, a newspaper company which has implemented a computerised editorial system is studied in an attempt to understand the impact that groupware systems can have on the decision making processes of an organisation. First, the case study protocol is presented, and the findings of the case are described in detail. Conclusions are then presented which pertain both to this case and to the implementation of decision support systems that have a groupware dimension.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Structured and Unstructured Decisions: The degree of structuredness of a decision is analogous to Simon’s (1977) notion of programmable vs. to nonprogrammable decision, which describes the extent to which a complete model can be proposed for the decision in all its aspects—it is all the variables it involves and the relationships amongst them.

Routinisation: The process whereby a certain procedure or process become ingrained in the fabric of an organisation such that actors no longer question its use. If the procedure or process is well understood and its use is correct, then routinisation allows firms to become very adept at solving certain types of problems. In other circumstances, routinisation can also lead to loss of adaptability and poor reaction to certain infrequent events.

Mechanistic Decision Making: Refers to Winter’s (1985) notion that organizations are actually quicker when they do not spent too much time reinventing the wheel. In mechanistic decision making, the reliance on well charted routines and procedures can allow for a rapid reaction to known situations as well as to situations that are nearly like known situations.

Groupware: The category of software which is destined to support the work of groups working on collective tasks. Groupware applications can be very simple, such as e-mail, or very complex, such as workflow modeling systems.

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