Experience at IBM with group support systems: A field study

Jay Nunamaker, Doug Vogel, Alan Heminger, Ben Martz, Ron Grohowski, Chris McGoff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

150 Scopus citations


Although numerous laboratory studies have been conducted, virtually no attention has been given to how well an operational Group Support System functions in a real-world, organizational setting. This paper presents the results of a Group Support System field study conducted at an IBM site. Data collected included session pre- and post-session questionnaires and facilitator observations plus followup interviews with managers and participants. Process and outcome effectiveness, efficiency,, and user satisfaction were consistently higher for Group Support Systems compared to no automated support. Further, those who had used the automated system before consistently had a higher mean score on questions of process effectiveness. A comparison of man-hours expended resulted in a reported 56% savings attributable to Group Support System use. The overwhelmingly positive results of this field study contradict some laboratory experiment findings and support others. Directions for future field and experimental research to resolve apparent differences and provide further clarification are identified.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)183-196
Number of pages14
JournalDecision Support Systems
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1989


  • Effectiveness
  • Efficiency
  • Field Study
  • GDSS
  • Group Support Systems
  • Productivity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Management Information Systems
  • Information Systems
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Information Systems and Management


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