Effects on decision quality of supporting multi-attribute evaluation in groups

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In this study the effectiveness of multi-attribute utility (MAU) decision support in groups is evaluated for personnel selection problems differing in complexity. Subjects were asked to make an initial individual decision with or without MAU decision support. Next individuals formed small groups and were asked to reach a decision about the same problem. Groups received either MAU support or no support. Results show that for relatively simple problems the most effective method is to provide subjects with both individual and group decision support. Here, decision support had a clear impact on subjects' preferences and the level of agreement between group members. In addition, satisfaction with the decision and the decision procedure was relatively high. Overall, decision support improved communication; subjects reported to find the problem easier, to have more influence on the group decision, and to find it easier to express their opinions. For more complex problems, however, decision making without group support (whether preceded by individual support or not) was evaluated most favorably. Individual decision support in this condition was sometimes better than no support; i.e., there was a lower reported problem difficulty, a higher satisfaction with the group decision, and a higher reported influence on the group decision. The effectiveness of group MAU decision support for complex problems was evaluated less favorably.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)158-170
Number of pages13
JournalOrganizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Nov 1996

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