This dissertation presents the Participant-driven Group Support System (PD-GSS) framework. This framework presents an approach for Group Support System (GSS) designers to accommodate distributed or asynchronous groups through the use of different technologies and processes than traditional GSS.
The goal of the PD-GSS framework is to further involve the collaborative participants during the workflow in an effort to reduce the load on the meeting facilitator. As the name implies, it is the participants that are increasingly responsible for conducting and executing the required actions during a collaborative processes. The system empowers the participants in the meeting to conduct the meeting themselves, reducing the need for a dedicated facilitator to guide the process.
One of the modules from the PD-GSS framework, Peer-reviewed Brainstorming, was developed into a prototype and tested experimentally. This module requires each brainstorming idea to be routed through a peer-review process whereby the original brainstorming idea is edited for clarity and completeness. The goal of this new module is to reduce the number of low quality, noisy comments while increasing the quantity of high quality comments.
Ten six-person groups participated in the first experiment. Five groups were placed in a traditional electronic brainstorming GSS while the other five groups were placed in the peer-review treatment. The results indicate that the peer-review process did control the brainstorming process, yielding a higher percentage of valid brainstorming ideas.
The second module examined was the categorization module, allowing groups to work autonomously to identify similar ideas that should be grouped together in the same category or bucket. This new approach to the categorization of brainstorming ideas enables groups to work independently, asynchronously, and anonymously to organize the brainstorming input.
An existing GSS, ThinkTank by GroupSystems, was utilized. Eighty-one groups were used in the second experiment to test the ability of groups to work independently, without a facilitator, in an attempt to organize brainstorming ideas. The groups working synchronously outperformed the groups working in a mock asynchronous setting. Likewise, the groups that had to categorize the fewest number of brainstorming ideas received the highest performance measures.