Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

OU Professors Studyh Revolutionary Group Decision Systems

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

OU Professors Studyh Revolutionary Group Decision Systems

Article excerpt

Two University of Oklahoma professors will examine the impact of groupware, a group decision support system that could change business communications.

"Group decision support systems offer managers immediate prioritization of issues and discussion of options," said James E. Trumbly, assistant professor of management in OU's College of Business Administration.

"In a traditional group situation _ where everyone is in the same room _ only one person at a time can speak. But with groupware, all participants can contribute simultaneously. Consequently, everyone gets to participate much more than in a verbal environment," he said.

Individuals who use groupware can participate in meetings from across the globe, Trumbly said. For example, one meeting in which the software was used had participants from Dallas, Chicago, Tokyo and London.

During meetings, participants type in comments, suggestions and questions. In effect, Trumbly said, the group holds discussions on their computer screens.

Groupware also has automatic tools for voting, ranking the importance of items, and the rating of items, he said.

"We've demonstrated the software to executives enrolled in Challenge 2000, the university's highestvel, advanced management program," said Joseph B. Walther, OU assistant professor of communication and Trumbly's research partner.

"The executives enrolled in Challenge 2000 are people who understand the value of critical thinking and degree of consensus in the decisionking process," Walther said. "They were so infatuated with the software that we had to arrange for a second presentation to provide them with additional groupware applications."

"I was first introduced to groupware through OU's Challenge 2000 executive education program," said Jon Lannom, division president of Golden Corral Corp. "I immediately recognized that groupware could be very beneficial to our company. …

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