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What Is a Group Decision Support System?

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  • Written By: D. Nelson
  • Edited By: M. C. Hughes
  • Last Modified Date: 02 November 2014
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A group decision support system is any kind of computer network that is used to help professionals to communicate ideas during meetings. One example of this type of support system includes use of a number of micro-computers, one for each member of a meeting. In this scenario, meeting participants each type their thoughts regarding a question or issue into their micro-computers. Once each member has expressed his or her ideas, meeting participants can take turns reading and analyzing individual entries. A simpler kind of group decision support system might include one computer that meeting participants use to access relevant data.

According to some experts, there are seven different kinds of group decision support systems. One of the most common is the file drawer system. This is a system that acts solely as a data access model. Individuals who use this kind of system depend on their computers to provide them with intelligence that they can use to make educated decisions.

Another common kind of group decision support system is a suggestion model. In order for this kind of system to work, individuals must have a task that is clearly defined. A computer can use available data to make suggestions for potential methods for completing a task.

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Accounting models are common among groups that perform risk management functions. This system calculates the outcomes of various decisions. Accountants and financial planners uses these systems when developing financial strategy.

Groups that are able to create simulations of potential situations might use representational group decision support systems. These computers help meeting participants to view potential outcomes of various strategies by observing various simulations. In order for this kind of system to be effective, participants of a meeting must agree on a number of viable solutions.

A number of group decision support system models are based on data analysis functions. Meeting participants use these systems to look at intelligence from different perspectives and to discuss potential solutions. Some of these models require users to manipulate data to get specific results, while others might require users to engage with decision-oriented databases.

Group decision support systems can also function as virtual meeting spaces. With these models, one professional usually takes the role of leader. He or she grants meeting access to participants and oversees all voting. A leader can determine how much each participant contributes to a discussion. He or she also can determine whether votes are anonymous or if participants are allowed to see who placed each vote.

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