Document Type


Date of Award

Summer 8-31-2003

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Information Systems - (Ph.D.)


Information Systems

First Advisor

Murray Turoff

Second Advisor

Starr Roxanne Hiltz

Third Advisor

Jerry Fjermestad

Fourth Advisor

Bartel Albrecht Van de Walle

Fifth Advisor

Ronald E. Rice


This dissertation researchdesigned, implemented, and evaluated a Web-based Dynamic Voting Toolfor small group decision-making in a collaborative environment.

In this dissertation, theliterature on voting tools in current GDSS research is presented. Variousvoting theories and methods are analyzed, and the advantages and weaknessesare compared, so as to gain a better understanding of how to apply thesedifferent voting methods to diverse decision-making situations. A briefoverview of scaling theories is also given, with an emphasis on Thurstone'sLaw.

The basic features of someweb-based voting tool implementations are reviewed along with a discussionof the pros and cons of Intemet voting. A discussion of Human DynamicVoting (HDV) follows; HDV allows multiple voting and continuous feedbackin a group process. The Dynamic Voting Tool designed and developed bythe author (i.e., Zheng Li) integrated multiple scaling and voting methods,and supported dynamic voting. Its features, user feedback, and futureimprovements are further discussed.

A controlled experiment wasconducted to evaluate the effects of the Dynamic Voting Tool (alongwith the List Gathering Tool by Yuanqiong Wang) interacting with smallgroup process. The design and procedures of the experiment, and thedata analysis results extracted from 187 student subjects from New JerseyInstitute of Technology are reported. While the System Survey yieldedvery positive feedback on the voting tool, the hypotheses tested bythe Post-Questionnaire and expert judgments showed no major positivesignificant results. This was probably due to the complexity of thetask and procedures, lack of motivation of the subjects, bad timing,insufficient training, and uneven distribution of subjects, etc.

Several field studies usingthe Social Decision Support System (SDSS) Toolkit (List Gathering Tool+ Dynamic Voting Tool) are presented. The SDSS system worked well whenthe subjects were motivated. The field studies show that the toolkitcan be used in course evaluations, or other practical applications.

Finally, it is suggestedthat future research can focus on improving the voting tool with truedynamic features, exploring more issues on SDSS systems design and experimentation,and exploring the relationship of voting and GSS.



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