Journal of Management Information Systems

Volume 7 Number 3 1990 pp. 7-25

A Longitudinal Study of the Impact of Group Decision Support Systems on Group Development

Chidambaram, Laku, Bostrom, Robert P, and Wynne, Bayard E

ABSTRACT: This paper reports on a study aimed at integrating an important but neglected behavioral issue--group development--into group decision support systems (GDSS) research. Group development is based on the fact that most groups have a past and a future, and this affects group outcomes. However, most GDSS studies have investigated only a single group session. This study examined the behavior of groups using a GDSS over multiple sessions. The study reported in this paper specifically examined the following two questions: (1) does computer support affect the development of decision-making groups? and (2) do the patterns of development differ over time between computer-supported and manual groups? These two questions were studied using a two-factorial repeated measures research design. Results showed significant differences in development patterns between computer-supported groups and manual groups in terms of conflict management and degree of cohesiveness. After adapting to GDSS, computer-supported groups displayed more productive conflict management and higher group cohesiveness than manual groups.

Key words and phrases: group decision support systems, group behavior, group development