Keywords: group decision support systems, policy making, field research
Experiences with facilitating policy meetings with group support systems
Policy making, due to its intrinsic complexity, presents a challenging process to support for Group Support Systems (GSS). Two cases of GSS to support policy making are reported. We measured the common variables on preparation, the meeting process and the outcome, and less common variables were also investigated, such as policy context, and long-term impact. The research results indicate that group support for policy making is a difficult endeavour. The process of idea generation, visual modelling, and the facility to provide anonymity appear to be highly successful in a multi-party policy environment, whereas a lack of expression possibilities, voting facilities and reaching consensus when views of participants differ, are evaluated as less favourable. The assessment of the impact some time after the session brought to light new insight, which stresses the necessity for more longitudinal research in GSS.