IEEEXplore5 - Proceedings of the 32nd Hawaii International...

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Voting before discussing: Computer voting as social communication BRIAN WHITWORTH AND ROBERT J. MCQUEEN Information Systems Department Department of Management Systems Manukau Institute of Technology The University of Waikato Private Bag 94006, Auckland, New Zealand Private Bag 3105, Hamilton, New Zealand E-Mail: [email protected] Abstract This paper presents a case study on the use of an alternative method of computer support to that normally used, one that uses voting as a tool for social rather than rational choice. This voting before discussion (VBD) method is indicated in cases where agreement is an important group output, or where interpersonal conflict is creating problems in meetings. Given that participants are warned to avoid “groupthink”, the VBD method seems to increase group unity, reduce inter-personal conflict and speed decision making, while still allowing argument and analysis. The method is based on a three-process integrative theory of group interaction, which proposes that group cohesion arises primarily from normative influence rather than rational information exchange. If this model is correct, the VBD method may be just one of many new possible ways that computer support can be tailored to support group processes according to the nature of the group and the situation. Introduction This paper examines an alternative to both traditional face-to-face (FTF) discussion and current group support system (GSS) methods of interaction [26]. Face-to-face discussion is a complex interaction which computer software has tried to emulate or even improve upon [27]. One theoretical base for these computer tools is the steps of decision making, namely [35]: 1) Intelligence . A period of idea generation when the problem is defined and relevant ideas and information are brought out in the open, 2) Design . A period of analysis, where alternatives are identified and arguments presented, and, 3) Choice . The final stage where one or more decisions are made, with the intention to implement them. Other steps have been added before these three steps (problem awareness and problem definition) and after them (implementation and feedback, however the central steps have not changed in over 40 years) [5]. This linear decision method, shown in Figure 1, implies that discussion, such as occurs in face-to-face groups, involves an initial “brainstorming” period of information exchange (intelligence), followed by presentation of arguments and development of alternatives (design), and finally a decision making phase, which occurs towards the end of the discussion, perhaps involving an explicit formal vote. Where groups deviate from this rational procedure, for example by immediately searching for alternative solutions or by calling a final vote too soon, the result is poorer quality decisions [12, 14]. The surfacing and resolution of conflict seems a natural part of the design and choice stages of this procedure [31]. These ideas seem to have strongly influenced GSS
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This note was uploaded on 06/19/2011 for the course IT 2554 taught by Professor Mohammadali during the Spring '11 term at Abu Dhabi University.

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IEEEXplore5 - Proceedings of the 32nd Hawaii International...

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