Journal of Management Information Systems

Volume 8 Number 2 1991 pp. 109-133

The Effect of GDSS and Elected Leadership on Small Group Meetings

Ho, T H and Raman, K S

ABSTRACT: This research investigated the effect of a group decision support system (GDSS) and elected leadership on meetings of five-person groups. A controlled experiment that varied the form of decision support (no support, manual structure support equivalent to the GDSS structure, and GDSS support) and elected leadership (yes and no) was used to compare group decisions. Forty-eight undergraduate student groups were randomly assigned to one of the six treatment conditions of this 3x2 factorial design. The groups solved a preference task that required resolution of competing preference structures to arrive at group decisions. The level of premeeting consensus was used as a covariate. The dependent measures included postmeeting consensus, equality of influence, and influence of the leader. The major findings of this research are: • Manual groups displayed a significantly higher postmeeting consensus than GDSS groups. Elected leadership did not increase postmeeting consensus. • There was a significant correlation between equality of influence and premeeting consensus in GDSS groups. Groups that had high premeeting consensus seemed willing to let one member dominate the final solution. • Group support in the form of structure has potential to undermine leadership in small group meetings because leaders in manual and GDSS groups appeared to be less influential than their counterparts in baseline groups.

Key words and phrases: electronic meeting systems, group decision support systems