Ebook: Bridging the Socio-technical Gap in Decision Support Systems
The socio-technical gap is the great divide between social activities such as coordination which researchers and practitioners aim to support and those that are actually supported by technology. As the social interaction takes place through technology, it is changed and mediated by the technology. This gap between the two dimensions is being challenged by new and innovative approaches such as cognitive ergonomics and Web 2.0/3.0. Research in Decision Making (DM) theory and Decision Support Systems (DSS) shows that this gap is due in part to technical limitations and in part to the complexity of the contexts where decision support must be provided. Thus, DSS researchers face important questions concerned with the encapsulation of complex social aspects of managerial decision making, as well as with the representation of key human cognitive mechanisms, such as intuition and insight, within computational systems. This book presents the latest innovations and advances in decision support theory and practice with a special focus on bridging the socio-technical gap. These achievements will be of interest to all those involved in decision making activities and research. The book covers a wide range of topics including: Understanding DM, Design of DSS, Web 2.0 Systems in Decision Support, Business Intelligence and Data Warehousing, Applications of Multi-Criteria Decision Analysis, Intelligent DM, Context in DM, Knowledge Management, ERP Systems, Decision Support for Policy Making, Decision Making in Emergency Scenarios, Decision Support in Commerce, and Decision Support for Production Planning.
As the first decade of the 21st century draws to a close, Lisbon was selected to host the 15th IFIP Working Group 8.3 International Conference, DSS 2010. For this event, an inspiring and current theme was chosen: “Bridging the socio-technical gap in DSS – Challenges for the next decade”. The symbol of the conference was the statue of Prince Henry “the Navigator” (Infante D. Henrique), who was responsible for initiating the European worldwide explorations and discoveries at the early days of the Portuguese Empire (fifteenth century), and a patron of University of Lisbon, the institution hosting the DSS 2010 event. The reason for this choice of symbol is of course that innovation and entrepreneurship are also important characteristics of the IFIP Working Group 8.3.
Since 1982, the IFIP Working Group 8.3 conferences have aimed at presenting and discussing the latest innovations and achievements in the area of Decision Support Systems (DSS) and Decision Making (DM). These advances include theories, systems, methodologies, algorithms, techniques, applications and technologies supporting decision making. Each IFIP WG 8.3 conference has promoted a new research theme encouraging researchers to widen the boundaries for DSS research and practice in new directions.
At the 2002 conference, held in Cork (Ireland), participants were asked to evaluate the impact of the internet and to envisage its future potential. In Prato (Italy) in 2004, the “spirit of the humanist scholars of the Renaissance” was proposed as a source of inspiration to guide a reflection on the relevance of decision support in an uncertain and complex world. Creativity and innovation in decision making and support was the theme for the London (UK) conference, in 2006. Two years later, in Toulouse (France), participants were asked to reflect on collaborative decision making, presenting latest advances and discussing the multiple facets and challenges of collaborative decision support.
Bridging the socio-technical gap has been a challenge in many areas of research. The socio-technical gap is the great divide between the social activities which researchers and practitioners aim to support and those that are actually supported. Empirical evidence shows that this gap is due in part to technical limitations and in part to the complexity of the contexts where decision support must be provided. In DSS and DM, the challenges set by the socio-technical gap have raised several important questions concerned with the encapsulation of complex social aspects of managerial decision making, as well as with the representation of key human cognitive mechanisms, such as intuition and insight, within computational systems.
Recent years have witnessed the emergence of many exciting technological innovations and developments. Furthermore, these new technologies have become available to a wide population of users on a global scale at an unprecedented speed. Hence, the common user of information technologies has become more skillful and more demanding. Moreover, the progress in Human Computer Interaction has opened new directions for DSS design and development. DSSs can now be enriched by mobile features/tools allowing for ubiquitous data access and computing. Finally, the advent of Web 2.0 conveyed new forms of interaction and easy access to huge quantities of personalized information. The massive use of virtual network communities and other social software promoted the emergence of new types of social interaction and organization. All in all, context-aware computing is emerging as a key factor to enhance competitive advantage. All these innovations open new challenging directions for DSS and DM researchers.
Papers covering a wide variety of topics were proposed as contributions to the conference, including: Affect and emotion in Decision Support Systems, Decision Models in the real-world, Executive Information Systems, Negotiation Support Systems, Knowledge Management, Knowledge and Resource Discovery, Business Intelligence and Data Warehousing, Group Support Systems, Collaborative Decision Making, Socio-technical aspects for DM in Geographic Information Systems, Rich language for Decision Support, Web 2.0 Systems in Decision Support, and Incorporating Complex Factors in Decision Support.
This volume presents the 50 most relevant and insightful research papers amongst the contributions accepted for presentation and discussion at the conference.
The papers are organized into 13 themes:
Understanding Decision Making
Design of Decision Support Systems
Web 2.0 Systems in Decision Support
Business Intelligence and Data Warehousing
Applications of Multi-Criteria Decision Analysis
Intelligent Decision Making
Context in Decision Making
Decision Support for Policy Making
Decision Making in Emergency Scenarios
Decision Support in Commerce
Decision Support for Production Planning
As editors, we express our gratitude to everyone who contributed to the realization of this book, namely, all authors, members of the steering committee, members of the program committee, and reviewers. We also acknowledge the supports of CIO, University of Lisbon.
Ana Respício, DSS 2010 Chair
Frederic Adam, DSS 2010 Program Co-chair
Gloria Phillips-Wren, DSS 2010 Program Co-chair
Carlos Teixeira, DSS 2010 Organizing Committee
João Telhada, DSS 2010 Organizing Committee
This article provides an analysis of the correlation between a competitive advantage derived from improved decision-making processes and knowledge management through enterprise content management (ECM) platforms. Therefore, it expands literature on knowledge management and explicates the relationships among knowledge management systems, ECM systems, and decision-making processes. In other words our research question is: are the ECM systems able to create value for organizations? If Yes, how? In the studied case, we have seen that decision makers achieve their best performance through improved quantity and quality of input to the decisional process, as well as better formalization of knowledge included through all phases of the process thank to the adoption of ECM systems.
Strategic decision making is usually conducted by a firm's top management, led by the CEO or the President of the company. In keeping with this, 40 top level managers from two continents (North America and Europe) were targeted in a comparative research study. In the two countries (California US and Hungary), twelve of the managers were CEOs, Presidents, Vice Presidents or Chief Officers (hereafter referred to as Executives) while eight were founders and majority owners of their own enterprises (hereafter referred to as Entrepreneurs). The research focused on the following 3 areas: 1) How top level managers really make strategic decisions in these two different parts of the world; 2) How Entrepreneurs and Executives differ, if at all, in their approach to strategic decision making when they combine analytical thinking with their intuition; 3) The similarities and differences in management skills and decision making practices between Entrepreneurs and Executives within the investigated management cultures.
An international consensus has emerged on the need for strong and early action on sustainable development, involving creative initiatives aimed at improving the quality and diversity of life in new ecologically and creatively informed developments. But there has been relatively little research completed on how the collaboration and internationalization of SMEs (Small and Medium Enterprises) from emerging markets like China can power this process. In particular, SMEs are more vulnerable to the threats of globalization than larger companies despite their important role in the local economy. Hence this paper will take a bottom-up approach, focusing on the needs in this respect of Chinese “stigmatized” cities, which have benefited economically from industrial development over the past decade, but with severe consequences for the inhabitants, ranging from air pollution, transportation nightmares, ant-social housing, lack of diversity of indigenous services and facilities, and community destruction. The first part of this paper will describes the current problems/developments of the creative industries context in China and how this impacts on SMEs. Then it identifies deficits and problems on existing theories and practice regarding to SME cluster building in the face of globalization, taking a critical social psychological perspective. After addressing shortcomings of the traditional, mainly top-down, approaches and how they may be overcome by taking a bottom-up creative approach to building collaboration between SMEs, the paper confronts the question: how can GDACS (Group decision authoring and communication support) provide a suitable facilitating infrastructure for SMEs' cooperation in a creative industries cluster integrating both top-down and bottom-up perspectives and activities? It considers in particular the case of the building of a multinational SME cluster by the International Creative Industries Alliance (ICIA) of Beijing, following the ICIA's aim to “engage in real-world implementation cases, achieving results and producing outputs in ways that give new social, community, ecological and economic benefits”.
Business intelligence (BI) is currently the top technology priority of chief information officers (CIOs) and is a major growth area of business IT. BI systems are the IT-based systems that have the greatest impact on organizational strategy. Unfortunately, BI projects are subject to high failure rates and those that are implemented suffer from a utilization problem where only 10 to 20% of intended users actually use the systems. Most decision support systems (DSS) and BI research and practice treats managers as a homogenous group, but management research reports differences between senior executives and other levels of management, and individual differences between managers. This is a significantly more complex development environment than that assumed by current DSS and BI research. There are no specialist methods for analyzing the decision support requirements of senior executives. This paper discusses the rationale and design of a research project that uses a design-science strategy that aims to develop and test such a method. The method will be based on a sound understanding of senior executive information behaviors.
The growing emission of Greenhouse Gases (GHG) is identified by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) as an issue of grave concern. Accordingly, the EU has set ambitious targets for reductions in GHG emissions. The years to 2020 will see increasing regulative, normative and socio-cultural pressures on all organisations to adopt Green Strategies that leverage the direct and enabling effects of Green ICT to reduce, monitor and report on GHG emissions. Hence, the contexts in which decisions are made in organisations must begin to take into account the triple bottom line of economic sustainability, social sustainability and environmental sustainability. This paper argues that while bounded rationality adequately informs decision making around, for example, competitive strategies aimed at profit maximization, accounting for social and environmental concerns requires a different approach. We maintain that in the coming decade broader perspectives on decision support need to adopted, ones that are informed by an institutional rationality which encompasses social, environmental and financial dimensions.
In the general context of Group Decision Support System (GDSS), the paper investigates the possibility to externalize and support, from a metacognitive perspective, the effective use of facilitation knowledge with self-development capabilities. The experimental results make evident that these capabilities may be easily engineered by adopting the basic principles of the design for emergence in constructing an e-meeting facilitation tool that act as a stigmergic collaborative environment for the participants. Basically, the GDSS needs to provide a minimal structure for modeling the group decision process (GDP) which enables a participant-driven approach to group facilitation and magnify the sense of social participation. In this way the GDSS may provide a collaborative environment where unpredictable and more effective models of GDP design will emerge through the exploration of the problem space.
Making a theoretical contribution can be viewed as one of the most important and confusing objectives for a doctoral researcher. Focusing on the literature review process, this paper highlights the need to develop a tool that will enable doctoral researchers to assess the theoretical strength of the literature they survey. Through synthesizing theory development literature, from both a general research and IS perspective, we propose a tool to aid ‘new’ doctoral researchers in understanding the theoretical landscape within a domain. We then discuss how the tool can be utilized in the wider doctoral research process to combat the issues of rigor and relevance that have permeated the fabric of Information Systems (IS) research, through aiding in a two step literature review process of  categorizing the literature and  developing a theoretical framework to guide making a theoretical contribution.
This paper presents a user-centered design methodology for Decision Support Systems (DSSs), which is specifically built to face the socio-technical gap that often impedes DSS acceptability by end users in real work environments. The methodology has been experimented in two case studies in the field of health-related emergencies, namely earthquake and pandemic flu management. Methodology application and results are described with specific focus on the phases of requirement analysis and system evaluation.
A preliminary version of this paper was published in polish language in Chmielarz, W., Turyna, J. (eds..): Komputerowe systemy zarządzania, Wydawnictwo Naukowe Uniwersytetu Warszawskiego, 2009
A preliminary version of this paper was published in polish language in Chmielarz, W., Turyna, J. (eds..): Komputerowe systemy zarządzania, Wydawnictwo Naukowe Uniwersytetu Warszawskiego, 2009
Recent reviews of DSS research have indicated a need to improve its quality and relevance. Design science has an important role to play in this improvement as this research strategy can engage industry and the profession in intellectually important projects. DSS has a long history of design science, although most of this research was not conducted under this rubric. Recent publications have clarified what is required for quality outcomes in IS design science. A central issue in these publications is the evaluation of the design artifact, especially the use of the artifact in a field setting. Successful fieldwork is perhaps the most difficult, and most rewarding, aspect of design science. This paper presents research that used bibliometric content analysis to examine evaluation strategies, especially fieldwork, in a representative sample of 362 DSS design-science papers in 14 journals. The analysis found that DSS design-science papers whose artifacts are used in actual field environments are of significantly higher quality, have significantly higher organizational impact, and have significantly higher relevance with both IS professionals and managers. The major conclusion is that rigorous fieldwork should be the ultimate goal of DSS design-science evaluation.
We have established virtual exhibitions on the web to preserve and present displays. Now, we would like to present objects and exhibits in a way that it does not only reflect museologists' points of view of visiting the showcases but, with the help of cameras, we are following the regular visitors' movements in the physical space and can make the classification of them. With this system, we will be able to produce visits of a virtual exhibition that will be very close to real-life personal visits of an exhibition as there can be various stopover and direction selections reproduced that provide the same experience and feeling as in the course of a real visit.
The marketing departments of the major business intelligence (BI) software vendors have been quick to associate their products with the popular term ‘Web 2.0,’ branding the new releases of their product suites ‘BI 2.0.’ This paper argues that beyond its value as a device to enhance sales and marketing, the functions typically found in Web 2.0 web sites can be usefully applied to BI applications. It explores the application and role of Web 2.0 concepts within BI applications. The paper develops a simple framework to help understand the collaboration that is afforded by Web 2.0 applications. It classifies the functions that are provided in social media platforms to foster user collaboration and contribution. The framework is then used to examine how these forms of collaboration can be used to create more effective and ‘active’ BI applications.
Knowledge based social networks are regarded as valuable learning tools, particularly in their ability to promote collaborative learning, and high level of adaptability. This research-in-progress investigates key factors in the design of a Wiki-based knowledge sharing tool to support teaching and learning in a third level institution. To determine these factors, five higher education institutions were selected and within these institutions, a number of individuals were selected for interview, based on their extensive experience with technology-supported learning and collaboration. This paper develops a development model for a knowledge community and proposes key development decisions that should be taken into account, such as pedagogy, technology, and the integration of these two core areas to provide a holistic learning experience. The paper concludes with a plan for the creation and evaluation of a knowledge base for a learning community.
Web-based technologies have enabled companies to reach out to their customers and influence decision making in new and different ways. Personalization has shown promise as an approach to attracting an individual's interest and influencing their decision making, and it can be effectively delivered over the Internet. New technologies allow a rich mix of media, interconnected streams of social conversation between users, and one-on-one interaction between the user and the technology delivering the message. These characteristics can be used to influence a decision maker based on research suggesting that consumers will respond more favorably to individualized messages than generalized ones. This paper focuses on socio-technical aspects of personalization by addressing human and technical issues in the implementation and impact of personalization. We provide a Understand-Measure-Deliver theory of personalization and report a case study of a global company that successfully used personalization to influence consumer decisions in the tourism industry. The findings are that customization based on relevant data provides a personalized experience; customers become product designers and product testers with Web 2.0 technologies; and interaction between a human and the technology amplifies user experience.
While the potential advantages of Web 2.0 tools for improving organizational collaboration, innovation and knowledge management is recognized, there is little understanding of how developers should design Enterprise 2.0 applications and processes to leverage the collective intelligence of web-based communities. This paper focuses on one form of Enterprise 2.0 application, social networking software, and explores design challenges emerging from the nature of the software. We argue the importance of ‘sociality’ rather than ‘functionality’ as the key design concept, and highlight challenges in relation to the identification of users, the specification of user requirements, and the nature of success in relation to social networking software. Drawing on research on the successful development of online communities, we posit that the success of social networking software can be regarded as the degree to which it facilitates the development of social capital in an online environment. We then use the theory of network governance and an analysis of social networking software to hypothesize the factors that lead to the development of online social capital. Working from this model, the paper concludes that the design of social networking software should focus on restricting access, allowing participants to assess the reputation of others, and implementing collective sanctions for those that violate the norms and values developed by the community.
This paper presents an insight into the emerging concept of Master Data Management (MDM) and highlights issues that both academics and business managers should consider to better understand the meaning of this ‘hot topic’. This critical reflection paper is forward looking and attempts to make sense of the MDM concept and highlight the issues associated with implementation. We argue that both the Data Warehousing and ERP concepts are the forerunners to the emergence of MDM. We argue that MDM is effectively Data Warehousing branded with ERP market rhetoric and contains an added repository of ‘master data’. We see MDM as another attempt at data integration due to the failure of previous Data Warehousing, ERP and ERPII/BI initiatives. Finally, we argue that more research should be conducted to fully appreciate the true meaning of the concept of MDM and MDM implementation.
Business analytics has the potential to deliver performance gains and competitive advantage. However, a theoretically grounded model identifying the factors and processes involved in realizing those performance gains has not been clearly articulated in the literature. This paper draws on the literature on dynamic capabilities to develop such a theoretical framework. It identifies the critical roles of organizational routines and organization-wide capabilities for identifying, resourcing and implementing business analytics-based competitive actions in delivering performance gains and competitive advantage. A theoretical framework and propositions for future research are developed.
This paper presents an exploratory case study of a large-scale business intelligence systems development project. Using participant observation as the data collection approach, the case is discussed and a number of emerging issues are identified. There are very few examples in the literature of participatory case research into BI systems development. The authors argue that this approach helps to promote a rich, contextual understanding of data, and it should be more widely adopted in applied disciplines such as BI.
This paper reports two projects for supporting decisions of the Company of Electricity in Azores Islands, Electricidade dos Açores. There were several decisions to support, such as whether communications between islands should moved from the present telephone lines to VoIP, and if better models to support forecast power consumption should be adopted. The solution established integrates OLAP cubes in a data mining project, based on CRISP-DM process model. Both for strategic and more operational decisions the objective was always to get accurate data, build a data warehouse and to get tools to analyze it in order to properly inform the decision makers. These DSS's translates big CSV flat files or acquire data in real time from operational Data Bases to update a data warehouse, including importing, evaluating data quality and populating relational tables. Multidimensional data cubes with numerous dimensions and measures were used for operational decisions and as exploration tools in the strategic ones. Data mining models for forecasting, clustering, decision trees and association rules identified several inefficient procedures and even fraud situations. Not only was possible to support the necessary decisions, but several models were also displayed so that control decision makers and strategists could support new problems.
Business intelligence (BI) is the dominant technology for decision support in medium and large organizations. Unfortunately, there has been no rigorous academic research on the market and innovation strategies of the leading vendors. This is surprising as BI is a key technology priority for CIOs and unusually in a major global financial downturn it is an area of significant growth in IT spending. This paper presents a preliminary study of market strategy and innovation in one of the four leading BI vendors, Cognos/IBM. The case study uses data from archived press releases and statutory financial returns to analyze Cognos's activities from 1995 to 2009. The results illuminate a complex commercial environment. Based on the case study and background literature a research agenda structured around eight key questions is proposed.