Philosophical and Conceptual Perspectives on the Design of Group Support Systems


  • Karma Sherif
  • James Courtney



group support systems, GSS, philosophical perspectives, paradigms, Functionalism, Social Relativism, Radical Structuralism, Neohumanism


Design of information systems (IS) has been one of the most elusive tasks of the system analyst, requiring technical expertise, creative inspiration and deep understanding of the problem under examination. Perhaps even more than is the ease with other IS. Group support systems (GSS) design is challenging because it involves groups who vary in behavior, process and culture. The system designer's worldview will shape its features. In an attempt to shed new light on GSS design, this paper examines the problem from four philosophical perspectives or paradigms: Functionalism, Social Relativism. Radical Structuralism and Neohumanism. The generic requirements identified from the analysis include support for multitasking, multiple languages, customization, multiple communication modes, interoperability, rational discourse and knowledge validation. While these appear to be valid requirements to support computer-mediated decision making, it may be difficult if not impossible to satisfy them in one software system.


How to Cite

Sherif, K., & Courtney, J. (1996). Philosophical and Conceptual Perspectives on the Design of Group Support Systems. Australasian Journal of Information Systems, 3(2).



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