Context in Decision Support Systems Development

Context in Decision Support Systems Development

Alexandre Gachet (University of Hawaii at Manoa, USA) and Ralph Sprague (University of Hawaii at Manoa, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-677-8.ch040
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Finding appropriate decision support systems (DSS) development processes and methodologies is a topic that has kept researchers in the decision support community busy for the past three decades at least. Inspired by Gibson and Nolan’s curve (Gibson & Nolan 1974; Nolan, 1979), it is fair to contend that the field of DSS development is reaching the end of its expansion (or contagion) stage, which is characterized by the proliferation of processes and methodologies in all areas of decision support. Studies on DSS development conducted during the last 15 years (e.g., Arinze, 1991; Saxena, 1992) have identified more than 30 different approaches to the design and construction of decision support methods and systems (Marakas, 2003). Interestingly enough, none of these approaches predominate and the various DSS development processes usually remain very distinct and project-specific. This situation can be interpreted as a sign that the field of DSS development should soon enter in its formalization (or control) stage. Therefore, we propose a unifying perspective of DSS development based on the notion of context. In this article, we argue that the context of the target DSS (whether organizational, technological, or developmental) is not properly considered in the literature on DSS development. Researchers propose processes (e.g., Courbon, Drageof, & Tomasi, 1979; Stabell 1983), methodologies (e.g., Blanning, 1979; Martin, 1982; Saxena, 1991; Sprague & Carlson, 1982), cycles (e.g., Keen & Scott Morton, 1978; Sage, 1991), guidelines (e.g., for end-user computer), and frameworks, but often fail to explicitly describe the context in which the solution can be applied.

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