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GDSS Research Paper - Committee meetings and group projects...

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Committee meetings and group projects are a part of everyday life in the business world. Policies, budget plans, and many other organizational tasks frequently involve some sort of group discussions or meetings. Consequently, managers find themselves spending a great deal of time in meetings and often view them as unproductive or a waste of time. A Group Decision Support System (GDSS) offers a viable and attractive alternative over the traditional, oral meeting environment and in many situations has revolutionized the concept of meetings. G.D.S.S. or commonly referred to as Group Decision Support Systems is a group of people in their different fields coming together in a electronic type environment such as internet for global or a network for local use. GDSS main purpose is to support a group to cooperate and work effectively together to reach its goals. The purpose of GDSS is to support and develop the whole group decision making process and improve the productivity of decision-making meetings, either by speeding up the decision making process or by improving the quality of the resulting decisions (Kerry). A Major part of any Group Decision Support System is the groupware/effective tools/applications, environment, and the advantages for many types of meetings that make GDSS efficient and productive. Software designed to support the work of a group is often referred to as Groupware. Groupware focuses on enabling groups of people to work together towards a common goal. Group Decision Support Systems are a specialized kind of groupware, which makes it more decision-oriented and focus on helping a group solve a problem or reach a solution. Electronic meeting systems (EMS), Computer-aided Visualizations (CAVs) and heuristics as well as other numerical approaches combined with optimization seem to be some of the most promising elements of groupware, because decisions are made in the distributed groups and they deal with human behaviors. Some product examples of groupware include Lotus Notes and Microsoft
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Exchange, both of which facilititate calendar sharing, e-mail handling, and the replication of files across a distributed system so that all users can view the same information. Electronic "face-to- face" meetings are facilitated by CU-SeeMe and Microsoft NetMeeting. Groupware is often broken down into categories describing whether or not work group members collaborate in real time synchronous groupware and asynchronous groupware (Beasley). Synchronous groupware enables real-time collaboration among geographically distributed work group members. This software includes file transfer, chat, shared whiteboard, applications sharing voice, and video. In comparison, asynchronous groupware enables people to collaborate remotely, but not necessarily at the same time. A study group from the University of Canberra in Australia evaluated the differences between synchronous and asynchronous groupware. They used Lotus Notes an asynchronous product for several months, after which they used Microsoft NetMeeting and Aussie MOO both synchronous products. They found that synchronous groupware meetings
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