An assessment of the effects of a decision support systems generator on selected mental health and performance attributes when performing a decision making task



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This was a controlled laboratory experiment involving seventy two MBA students that performed a case analysis as a means of assessing the effect of DSS generator usage via computer on an individual's performance and transient psychological stress. While one group used the DSS generator to conduct the case analysis the other group use manual methods. The first performance measurement examined in this experiment was decision guality. The results indicated that the subjects that used the DSS generator did not reflect a significant increase or decrease in decision quality from those that performed the task manually. Decision confidence was the second performance measurement tested in this research and was concerned with the amount of decision confidence each group possessed. Decision confidence was significant in DSS generator users which coincides with other research that found that the use of the computer corresponded with higher decision confidence among users. Transient psychological stress is the last variable included in this research and is concerned with the possibility that the decision making process and outcomes could be over-shadowed by the transient psychological stress experienced by the decision maker. This variable was found to be significantly lower in the DSS generator users. This was somewhat surprising since many users show frustration while using computers. The results of this research indicate that users of DSS generators do not necessarily do any better than users of manual methods, but perform with more decision confidence and with a lower level of transient psychological stress. However, caution is given to the fact that other tasks and/or DSS generators that differ from the ones used in this research may produce different results. Results from this research are rewarding in that a basis was established by which to pursue a more in depth investigation of the humancomputer interface including such methods as verbal protocol analysis and physiological stress measurements.



Decision making, Decision support systems