Issues and Strategies for Group and Negotiation Support Systems Research

Issues and Strategies for Group and Negotiation Support Systems Research

Graham Peter Pervan, David Arnott
Copyright: © 2014 |Pages: 18
DOI: 10.4018/ijdsst.2014100104
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This research project was principally motivated by a concern for the direction and relevance of research in systems that support group work and negotiation. The main areas of research focus are the publication frequency and outlets for GSS and NSS research, the research strategies used in published articles, and the professional relevance of the research. The project has analysed 383 GSS articles and 82 NSS articles published in 16 major journals from 1990 to 2010. The findings indicate a significant dependence on the Journal of Group Decision and Negotiation but represent an opportunity for newer journals such as the International Journal of Decision Support Systems Technology. Other issues include a focus on experimental research and design science, weak theoretical foundations and research methodologies, and a focus on operational level problems. Of great concern is the finding that GSS and NSS research has relatively low professional and managerial relevance. Eight key strategies for dealing with these issues are recommended.
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2. Group And Negotiation Support Systems Research

A GSS “consists of a set of software, hardware, and language components and procedures that support a group of people engaged in a decision-related meeting” (Niederman & Bryson, 1998). GSS are typically implemented as group decision systems (GDS) (Pervan & Atkinson, 1995) or electronic meeting systems (EMS) (Dennis et al., 1988). Group Support Systems directly evolved from personal decision support systems by using theories of group behaviour and processes and behavioural decision theory with networked microcomputers (Arnott & Pervan, 2005).

Group environments that require the support of GSS can be classified by the time of the meetings, either synchronous (same time) or asynchronous (different times), or the location of the group (either face to face or dispersed) (DeSanctis & Gallupe, 1985). In the early 1980s, GSS research initially focused on “decision rooms” (synchronous and face to face) such as those facilities established at the University of Arizona and the University of Minnesota.

Negotiation support systems (NSS) also operate in a group context but as the name suggests they involve the application of computer technologies to facilitate negotiations (Rangaswamy & Shell, 1997). As GSS were developed, the need to provide electronic support for groups involved in negotiation problems and processes evolved as a focused sub-branch of GSS with different conceptual foundations to support those needs (Jelassi & Foroughi, 1989). In essence, a negotiation support system is:

software which implements models and procedures, has communication and coordination facilities, and is designed to support two or more parties and/or a third party in their negotiation activities. (Kersten & Lai, 2007, p555)

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