Exploring the Boundaries of Successful GSS Application: Supporting Inter- Organizational Policy Networks

Gert Jan de Vreede, Hans de Bruijn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Technologies used to support group work are based on, and contain underlying assumptions regarding, how people work together. The appropriateness of such assumptions is an important factor in determining the successful employment of the technology. This paper uses an action research approach to explore the boundaries of effective GSS application by challenging the basic assumptions built into GSS. This exploration is carried out in the context of a particular arena in which groups have to interact to reach a certain goal: inter-organizational policy networks. From nine cases it appears that GSS are most effective in the orientation phase of inter-organizational policy making, while GSS should be avoided during the separation phase where winners and losers can be identified. During the package deal phase of an Inter-organizational policy making process, GSS may have added value to offer, but the technology should be employed with caution. These findings are consistent with various experimental studies that found that GSS application is more successful for creativity tasks than for preference tasks and mixed motive tasks.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)111-130
Number of pages20
JournalData Base for Advances in Information Systems
StatePublished - Sep 1 1999


  • action research
  • creativity tasks
  • group support systems
  • mixed motive tasks
  • negotiation
  • policy making
  • preference tasks

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Management Information Systems
  • Computer Networks and Communications


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