Eight key issues for the decision support systems discipline

Topics: Research, Decision theory, Decision making Pages: 70 (10262 words) Published: October 6, 2013
Available online at www.sciencedirect.com

Decision Support Systems 44 (2008) 657 – 672
www.elsevier.com/locate/dss

Eight key issues for the decision support systems discipline ☆ David Arnott a,⁎, Graham Pervan b
a

Centre for Decision Support and Enterprise Systems Research, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia b
Curtin Business School, Curtin University of Technology, Perth, Australia Received 2 May 2006; received in revised form 26 August 2007; accepted 23 September 2007 Available online 29 September 2007

Abstract
This paper integrates a number of strands of a long-term project that is critically analysing the academic field of decision support systems (DSS). The project is based on the content analysis of 1093 DSS articles published in 14 major journals from 1990 to 2004. An examination of the findings of each part of the project yields eight key issues that the DSS field should address for it to continue to play an important part in information systems scholarship. These eight issues are: the relevance of DSS research, DSS research methods and paradigms, the judgement and decision-making theoretical foundations of DSS research, the role of the IT artifact in DSS research, the funding of DSS research, inertia and conservatism of DSS research agendas, DSS exposure in general “A” journals, and discipline coherence. The discussion of each issue is based on the data derived from the article content analysis. A number of suggestions are made for the improvement of DSS research. These relate to case study research, design science, professional relevance, industry funding, theoretical foundations, data warehousing, and business intelligence. The suggestions should help DSS researchers construct high quality research agendas that are relevant and rigorous. © 2007 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Keywords: Decision support systems; Group support systems; Executive information systems; Data warehousing; Business intelligence; Review

1. Introduction
Decision support systems (DSS) is the area of the
information systems (IS) discipline that is focused on
supporting and improving managerial decision-making.
Essentially, DSS is about developing and deploying ITbased systems to support decision processes. DSS has been an important area of IS scholarship since it emerged
in the 1970s. It has also been a major area of IT practice
and the decisions made using IT-based decision support

An earlier version of this paper was presented at the IFIP Working Group 8.3 Conference, London School of Economics and Political Science, United Kingdom, July 2006.
⁎ Corresponding author. Tel.: +61 3 9903 2693.
E-mail address: david.arnott@infotech.monash.edu.au (D. Arnott).

0167-9236/$ - see front matter © 2007 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved. doi:10.1016/j.dss.2007.09.003

can have a significant effect on the nature and
performance of an organization. The current DSS industry
movement of business intelligence (BI) is one of the most
buoyant areas of investment despite the IT downturn of
the early to mid 2000s. The market in new BI software
licences grew 12% from 2003 to 2004 and is expected to
have compound growth of 7.4% to 2009 [34]. DSS is not a
homogenous field and over its 35-year history a number
of distinct sub-fields have emerged. The history of DSS
reveals the evolution of a number of sub-groupings of
research and practice [6]. The major DSS sub-fields are:
• Personal Decision Support Systems (PDSS): usually
small-scale systems that are developed for one
manager, or a small number of independent managers, to support a decision task;

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D. Arnott, G. Pervan / Decision Support Systems 44 (2008) 657–672

• Group Support Systems (GSS): the use of a combination of communication and DSS technologies to facilitate the effective working of groups;
• Negotiation Support Systems (NSS): DSS where the
primary focus of the group work is negotiation
between opposing parties;
• Intelligent...

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