Towards a model for exploring the relationship between managerial decision problems and decision support opportunities

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Daly, Mary Frances
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University College Cork
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The organisational decision making environment is complex, and decision makers must deal with uncertainty and ambiguity on a continuous basis. Managing and handling decision problems and implementing a solution, requires an understanding of the complexity of the decision domain to the point where the problem and its complexity, as well as the requirements for supporting decision makers, can be described. Research in the Decision Support Systems domain has been extensive over the last thirty years with an emphasis on the development of further technology and better applications on the one hand, and on the other hand, a social approach focusing on understanding what decision making is about and how developers and users should interact. This research project considers a combined approach that endeavours to understand the thinking behind managers’ decision making, as well as their informational and decisional guidance and decision support requirements. This research utilises a cognitive framework, developed in 1985 by Humphreys and Berkeley that juxtaposes the mental processes and ideas of decision problem definition and problem solution that are developed in tandem through cognitive refinement of the problem, based on the analysis and judgement of the decision maker. The framework facilitates the separation of what is essentially a continuous process, into five distinct levels of abstraction of manager’s thinking, and suggests a structure for the underlying cognitive activities. Alter (2004) argues that decision support provides a richer basis than decision support systems, in both practice and research. The constituent literature on decision support, especially in regard to modern high profile systems, including Business Intelligence and Business analytics, can give the impression that all ‘smart’ organisations utilise decision support and data analytics capabilities for all of their key decision making activities. However this empirical investigation indicates a very different reality.
Decision making , Decision maker , Decision support systems , Business intelligence , Business analytics , Big data , Cognitive representation
Daly, M.F. 2014. Towards a model for exploring the relationship between managerial decision problems and decision support opportunities. PhD Thesis, University College Cork.
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