An analysis of communication mode in group support systems research

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Group support systems (GSS) have been the subject of many investigations and meta-analyses over the past decade. This study presents, summarizes, and analyzes the results of 145 experiments that used communication mode as an independent variable. The results show that the modal outcome for GSSs compared to Face-to-Face (FtF) methods is "no difference," while the overall percentage of positive effects for results that compare GSS to FtF is 29.2%. The results suggest that the use of a GSS improves decision quality, depth of analysis, equality of participation, and satisfaction over manual methods. Additionally, more detailed analysis suggests that task type, GSS type and the interaction of both have a moderating effect on adaptation and outcome factors. Specifically, groups working on idea generation tasks using GSS decision room technology improve to 39.6% (GSS>FtF) effect. Conversely, asynchronous computer-mediated communication (CMC) groups working on decision making tasks improved to 46.4% (GSS>FtF) effect. FtF groups show higher levels of consensus and perceived quality, communicate more, and are more efficient (requiring less time to complete the tasks). No differences are observed between FtF and GSS groups on satisfaction and usability.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)239-263
Number of pages25
JournalDecision Support Systems
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 2004

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Management Information Systems
  • Information Systems
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Information Systems and Management


  • Categorical assessment
  • Experimental analysis
  • Group decision support systems


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