استفاده از سیستم های پشتیبانی گروهی جهت برنامه ریزی استراتژیک نیروی هوایی ایالات متحده
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی||تعداد کلمات|
|27507||2003||23 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید||محاسبه نشده|
Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Decision Support Systems, Volume 34, Issue 3, February 2003, Pages 315–337
Strategic planning is a critical part of establishing an organization's direction. Although strategic planning is utilized throughout the United States Air Force today in various forms, group sessions can become time-consuming without structured planning and a focus on group communication. Computer-supported strategic planning, making effective use of technology, is one way to improve the strategic planning process. This research implements a group support system (GSS) as a communication tool to facilitate the strategic planning process. The researchers investigate effects of a facilitator's using technology to structure verbal and electronic communication, with the goal of increasing quality output and improving group member satisfaction. This project was completed at Mountain Home Air Force Base with the support of the 366th Wing. As predicted, a GSS facilitator's structuring verbal and electronic communication improved the quality of the strategic plan, reduced time to complete a strategic plan, and increased satisfaction with the strategic planning process. The results did not indicate increased commitment to implement the strategic plans developed by a group using GSS facilitation.
In the new millennium, the work of an organization often occurs within groups or teams  and . Consequently, cooperation and collaboration within groups is critical to an organization's effectiveness . Group work offers a multitude of advantages to an organization through sharing information, generating ideas, making decisions, and reviewing the effects of decisions . Decision-making groups are social entities that require effective coordination of time and resources . Generally, the goal of such groups is to determine an optimal solution to an issue. Ideally, the group will reach a “better” decision than an individual because the collective knowledge and skill of the group is typically greater than an individual's knowledge or skill ,  and . Also, making a decision in a group disperses individual accountability associated with decision-making. The goal of much research on group interaction is to improve the group's ability to make quality decisions. According to Johanson and Swigart [107,p.92], the issue of quality is increasingly important in organizations, yet the specific definition is elusive. The authors claim that “quality used to mean something well-made, crafted with the attention of a master…something fitted closely to its purpose, or something deliciously apt”. Current organizations invert the traditional relation of time to quality and no longer support the concept that the longer one works on something the higher the quality. According to Beehtell , quality means continuous improvement in fundamental processes. In this study, quality is how close actual output meets the intended purpose. The objective is to analyze the strategic action plans against a criteria for what an ideal plan looks like to judge “quality” of the output from the strategic planning sessions. Researchers have followed two general paths to meet this challenge . One path is descriptive, investigating what groups do when making decisions. Specific variables associated with this type of analysis are communication behavior, group size, meeting length, participants' gender, and room arrangement  and . Descriptive research provides knowledge claims that indicate how decision-making groups interact. For example, Bales  and Bales and Strodtbeck  found that successful decision-making groups went through three interaction stages or phases: orientation, evaluation, and control. Hence, several decades of researchers analyzed group interaction and described different phases of this interaction in varying detail , , , , ,  and . A second path is prescriptive group research. This path uses knowledge claims from descriptive research plus logic to develop theories on how groups ought to interact when they are making a decision . An implicit assumption of prescriptive theories is that decision-making is rational. Prescriptive theories suggest steps to reach a quality decision , ,  and . These steps are based on a rational approach to decision-making . Hirokawa  and  reports that groups that follow rational decision-making approaches produce higher-quality group decisions than groups that do not follow decision-making prescriptions. Prescriptive theories are criticized because group members are assumed to behave rationally, and the standard structure of a prescriptive approach may limit creativity  and . Both descriptive and prescriptive approaches to group decision-making are helpful in developing methods that can improve the quality of group decision-making , , , , ,  and . For example, descriptive research has shown that successful groups critically analyze assertions presented, while prescriptive theories often provide a structured process for critical analysis of the problem, as well as a process to generate alternative solutions. This study uses a systematic integration of these two lines of research to explain how a group support system (GSS) can be used to improve group decision-making quality and satisfaction with the group decision-making process. The investigation is designed to achieve the following goals: (1) to conceptualize the various roles within structured communication when GSSs are used to improve a group's ability to make high-quality decisions; (2) to conceptualize the functions of a group facilitator's potential intervention strategies in managing groups using GSSs; and (3) to establish a context in which to investigate the impact on decision quality and satisfaction when a facilitator uses a GSS.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
In this investigation, squadrons that used GSS facilitation produced higher-quality action plans than squadrons not using GSS facilitation. This result suggests that when generating action plans with squadrons in the United States Air Force, the quality is likely to be higher when a GSS facilitator is used. Cohen's  work suggests the effect size of the relationship between groups in the sample is large. Effect size is a measure of the strength of a relationship. Consequently, one can assume that the high-quality output generated by group interaction is a product of quality group decisions made by GSS-facilitated groups. These results, coupled with the findings that GSS-facilitated squadrons developed the action plans in considerably less time and were more satisfied with the group process than non-GSS-facilitated squadrons, suggest that the United States Air Force should consider institutionalizing an appropriate structure for using GSS facilitators to develop strategic plans across the entire organization. A critical, yet often overlooked, component of strategic planning is to bring the organization's vision and goals to all organizational members . This research demonstrates an effective structure to take strategic vision down to actions at the appropriate levels of the organization. The findings of higher-quality decisions and greater satisfaction in less time are consistent with prior research , , ,  and . The expectation that individual commitment to implementing the squadron's decision would increase for GSS-facilitated groups was not supported. A critical assumption associated with this concept is that if an individual has the opportunity to fully participate in the process used to develop the plan, that person will be highly committed to implementing the plan  and . In the United States Air Force, considerable effort and training go into the development of effective leader and follower roles . Leadership is a quality that can be characteristic both of individuals and within social systems ,  and . Because leaders can lead only if followers follow  and , members of the United States Air Force, in the pursuit of excellence, train to become effective leaders and loyal followers. Consequently, one reason commitment to implementation may not have been supported in this investigation is that when a squadron develops an action plan, the social norms of the United States Air Force require a high level of commitment to implementation regardless of an individual's participation in the process. In fact, the concept of full participation by a large number of individuals from differing ranks and categories (officer and enlisted) is an unfamiliar one in traditional military structure. For more than 65 years, organizational and small-group communication researchers have investigated ways to improve communication so that groups and organizations can make quality decisions in a timely manner , , , , ,  and . This investigation focused on four components of group decision-making: appropriate structure, GSS facilitation, satisfaction, and quality. Developing and implementing an appropriate group decision structure requires a keen understanding of the decision-making task the group faces, as well as the ability to implement strategic communication interventions as group interaction progresses  and . Building on a decades-strong foundation of research on decision-making structures , , , , , , , , , ,  and , the GSS facilitator in this investigation was able to work with the leaders of an organization of approximately 10,000 people to develop a group decision-making structure that involved a large number of organizational members in a critical decision-making task. The assumption in this investigation is that participation in the decision-making process by as many stakeholders as possible is critical to the development of high-quality strategic plans , ,  and . Developing appropriate decision-making structures is one part of a two-act play. In addition, a GSS facilitator must implement the decision-making structure so that the group can make high-quality decisions. This investigation provides evidence that in facilitated groups, appropriate decision-making structures can be created and implemented even with large numbers of participants involved in the process. A facilitator who understands the way decision-making groups communicate and knows how GSS structure affects communication can strategically create interventions to positively influence group outcome . Wheeler and Valacich  found that the facilitator provides process guidance critical to helping the group navigate the appropriate structured group technique to produce required deliverables. A facilitator is most influential when keeping a group within the intended spirit and use of a structured technique. Aakhus  stresses that facilitators apply group communication theories when implementing communication strategies to help the group produce deliverables. This investigation provides evidence that GSS facilitators manage communication interactions using technology, communication strategies, and appropriate decision structures to produce quality group decisions in less time than it takes groups working without a GSS facilitator to arrive at such decisions. Satisfaction with the communication among group members and with the group process is another essential ingredient for successful group interaction , , , , ,  and . From a communication perspective, group members should leave a group interaction with a sense of fulfillment gained from satisfying communication and tasks accomplished . In this investigation, squadrons that used GSS facilitation comprised an average of 14 members, who were more satisfied with their group's interaction than members of groups that did not use GSS facilitation. Group size was not a variable investigated in this study, but it affects satisfaction  and . As a relational component of group interaction, satisfaction may vary depending on the size of the group and the use of GSS. In this study, GSS facilitation generated an environment in which participants could achieve high-quality interaction without the stress of time pressure . This situation led to a satisfying group decision-making experience that produced high-quality decisions. A final factor in producing quality decisions is that groups must gather accurate information in a timely manner and allow members' full participation in the analysis of that information  and . According to Wittenbaum , group members tend to share common knowledge rather than unique knowledge when interacting in decision-making groups. Based on this investigation, the researchers speculate that squadron units took advantage of the parallel-process capability of a GSS and shared the majority of its “common knowledge” electronically. Recall that the group generated potential action plans for each target, then deleted duplicate plans and plans not meeting the “action plan” criteria. Afterwards, the group verbally discussed what changes needed to be made to potential action plans to transform them into actual action plans for the squadron. The researchers speculate that during this phase, group members exchanged unique knowledge that helped produced high-quality action plans.