Management Science 409
Executive Masters in Information Systems
Seminar in Group Decision Support Systems

Course Description and Objectives:

Individual and group decision support systems. Use of the Management Decision Center to investigate group dynamics in decision making. Methods of dealing with unstructured and underspecified problems from management and organizational perspectives. The role of the facilitator in group decision making. The course objectives are to:

Coleman,D.and Khanna,R. Groupware:Technology and Applications. Prentice Hall Upper Saddle River, N.J., 1995.
Kelly, R.K. Team Decision Making Techniques. Richard Chang Associates, 1994.
Weatherall, A. and Nunamaker, J. Introduction to Electronic Meetings. Electronic Meeting Services. Chandlers Ford, Hampshire, England, 1996.
GroupSystems Windows, Ventana Corp, Tucson, AZ;
TeamEC, Expert Choice, Inc, Pittsburgh, PA;
Lotus Domino, Lotus Development Corp., Cambridge MA.
Netscape Communicator 4.6, Netscape Communications Corp, Mountain View, CA.
Internet Explorer, Microsoft Corporation, Redmond WA
John Saunders, Ph.D.
day (202) 685-2078
fax (202) 685-3974

A Course grade will be compiled from performance on the following items:

1. Project Information Gathering 20%
2. Project Information Organization 25%
3. Group Decision Session & Report 35%
4. Class participation 15%
5. Peer Review 5%
Requirements will be evaluated with letter grades corresponding to the following point values

A+ = 100; A = 96; A- = 93; B+ = 89; B = 86; B- = 83; C+ = 79; C = 76; C- = 73; F = 0


Session  Date / Time      Topic                 Readings (R) / Exercises    
                                                (E) / Assignments Due (A)   

   1     Saturday May 4   Introduction to       (R)- C&K Chpts 1,7,         
         1:30 - 5:30      Group Decision        12.11.4                     
                          Support; Subject      (E) Subject Selection &     
                          Selection & Team      Team Formulation            
                          Formation;            (E) Lotus Notes             
                          Information Sharing;                              

   2     Friday May 10    Case Studies in       (R)-C&K Chpts 13,14         
         1:30 - 5:30      Groupware; Guest      (E) Internet Decision       
                          Speaker; DTDP Group   Tools                       
                          Decision Support;     (A) Project Proposal        

   3     Friday May 24    STSP Technology;      (R)- C&K Chpt 6             
         1:30 - 5:30      Group Choice; Guest   (E) What to Do with Pat?    
                          Speaker               Group EC Modeling           
                                                (A) Information Gathering   

   4     Saturday June 1  Same Time Same Place  (R)-                        
         1:30 - 5:30      Facilitation                                      

   5     Saturday June    Facilitation -        (R)-                        
         15               continued             (E)- Forming a Parade       
         1:30 - 5:30                            (A) Information             

   6     Saturday June    Team Presentations    (R)-                        
         29                                     (A) Teams 1,2,3; Session    
         8:30 - 12:30                           Documentation               

   7     Saturday July    Group System          (R)-Richardson&Anderson     
         20               Dynamics Modeling;    (E) The Federal Budget      
         8:30 - 12:30     Team Presentations    (A) Teams 4,5; Final        

   8     Friday July 26   Visits to GDSS, Inc                               
         1:30 - 5:30      and NDU DRIVIR

Group Project


The objective of the project is to apply the concepts and tools of Group Decision Support to a simulated or actual group problem environment.

Formulation & Presentation

Class members will be formed into teams of four individuals. Each team will be tasked with putting together a decision "package" to be presented to an esteemed board of directors (TBD) and to the stockholders (a.k.a classmates). Teams will have one hour to present relevant information to the board and, if required, to elicit a decision with respect to the topic at hand. Presentations will take place during the following class sessions.

Session 6 - Teams 1, 2 & 3
Session 7 - Teams 4 & 5

The Problem Framework

Each team may select a problem framework of its choice - to be cleared through the faculty by the second week of class. The decision may revolve around any major area such as BPR, strategic planning, or resource allocation and may be drawn from an actual organizational situation or from a fictitious or abstract area. Some examples of past projects follow:

Resource Database Design for Sallie Mae
Customer Information Database for Faraday Corporation
Re-engineering of GWU Decision Support Center
Bell Atlantic Carrier Interchange Re-engineering
Ashburn Community Internet Host Service Proposal
Krum Corporation Critical Skills Tracking System Design
Re-engineering Financial Execution Process for DOE Energy Efficiency Office

Information Gathering (20%)

Groups must provide evidence that a thorough search was performed to support the decision under investigation. The information may come from any source but at least half should be through electronic on-line means including but not limited to e-mail, on-line services such as AOL, and/or the internet. The information will be judged upon the quality of the sources, the intelligence placed into the search effort, originality of the information, currency, and comprehensiveness.
Information Organization (25%)
Groups should organize the gathered information into an electronic format that is readily accessible, understandable, and flexible. The information should be structured in Lotus Domino or in an Internet browser format, i.e.HTML /CGI /JAVA , etc. The structure will be judged upon the GUI, ease of use, search capability, sophistication (e.g. hypermedia links), security, and creativity.
Group Decision Session, Presentation and Report (35%)
Groups will provide evidence of a well planned and delivered decision session. This includes evidence of pre-planning, role assumption, agendas, reaction to change, output production, and follow-up/action plans. Evaluation of the session will be based upon fulfilling the above requirements, and a measure of group participant satisfaction. The presentation will be evaluated upon quality, professionalism, adherence to schedule, and the use of audio-visual aids. Evaluation of the report will be based upon clarity, writing ability, and relevance. Reports should include a table of contents, executive summary, body and appendices. All pages should be numbered. 
Deliverable                                             Due Date         

One page synopsis of proposed project - submitted for   May 10           

Softcopy of information sources.                        May 24           

Structured database of gathered information.            June 15          

In-class presentation.                                  June 29          

Complete documentation from Group Decision Support      June 29          
Session with "Customers".                                                

Minimum 10 page write-up of results, i.e. summary and   July 20          
"lessons learned ."

"The right information at the right time is 90% of the battle." Napoleon Bonaparte 

"Thanks to technology the world is going bonkers. And it's going to get more bonkers - bonker's squared in a few years with bonkers cubed on the way." Tom Peters 

"Any sufficiently developed technology is indistinguishable from magic." Arthur C. Clarke 

"The desktop computer to me, at least since 1968 has been a passing phase. It's not an aberration, but it's like Gutenberg in that you invent something new, but you don't know what it is, so you put it in the old case. Aldus [Mantius] is my hero. He's the guy who wanted books that could fit into saddlebags, so he was forced not only to change the size of the book, but to also invent a lot of modern typography in order to make the books legible." Alan Kay