This article develops the notion of decisional episodes as a basis for understanding ways in which decisions can be supported. Grounded in and aligned with knowledge management (KM) theory, the resultant perspective on decision support can guide researchers in the generation of research ideas and designs. It can also contribute to practitioners by suggesting architectures and functionalities to consider in the course of developing decision support systems, and by suggesting key issues to resolve in the course of deploying and evaluating a portfolio of decision support systems. Broadly speaking, knowledge management is concerned with efforts to ensure that the right knowledge is available to the right processors at the right time in the right representations for the right cost in order to foster right relationships, decisions, and actions with respect to an entity’s mission. These efforts unfold in various contexts such as designing, communicating, researching, and decision making. Our focus here is on the latter.
Key Terms in this Chapter
Decisional Episode: This is a unit of activities launched by a decision trigger involving a set of knowledge resources relevant to producing a decision; a set of knowledge processors that can operate on these resources; a process that characterizes the coordination of resources and processors as they operate on these knowledge resources; managerial influences that facilitate, guide, and constrain this process; and environmental influences that impact the episode.
Decision Support System (DSS): A DSS is a knowledge processor equipped with a knowledge store and possessing various knowledge processing skills; it functions as a participant in decisional episodes.
Knowledge Management: Knowledge management are efforts to ensure that the right knowledge is available to the right processors at the right time in the right representations for the right cost in order to foster right relationships, decisions, and actions with respect to an entity’s mission.
Knowledge Chain Theory: This theory identifies nine functions that, if performed in ways superior to those of competitors, contribute to the organization, which will enjoy a relative competitive advantage.
Ontology: The baic theory and terminology that characterize some phenomenon of interest.