Honours Dissertation

I finished my honours dissertation (or “research essay”) at the end of 2002. Below is an abstract, click on “more” to download the full text.

Decision making is one of the core functions of any organisation. In recent years, much effort has been expended attempting to solve the problem of how Information Systems may be used to facilitate organisational decision making. Information Systems affecting or intended to affect decision making are referred to as Decision Support Systems.

This research starts by coming to a clear understanding of the processes by which organisational decisions are made. Eight models of decision making in individuals and groups were studied to arrive at a number of requirements for an information system to support those processes.

We then report on more than 30 years of Information Systems research intended to solve the problem of organisational decision support. Beginning with the aptly named Management (Mis)information systems of the late 1960’s and culminating in the promise of inter-organisational decision support of today.

A number of existing frameworks and architectures for organisational decision support systems are reviewed and synthesised in order to arrive at a new decision making process, framework and architecture for organisational decision support systems. The concepts embodied in the framework and architecture are then evaluated by implementing them in a proof of concept prototype.

The prototype was found to meet the requirements of organisational decision support systems and the framework and architecture are believed to be valuable additions to solving the problem of organisational decision support.