It is commonly accepted that online social networking and decision support systems are two intertwined research field. However, as the extent of such interconnection is still quite scarce, we underwent a large study of these research fields, over a time-span of eight years (from 2003 until 2010).
Previous research on this matter had already determined that many concepts are encompassed by both online social networking and decision support systems research. Due to the large number of concepts and using clustering techniques, we were able to determine four concept clusters, namely: the technical infrastructure, online communities, network analysis and knowledge management.
After determining the referred concept clusters, we intended to gain further knowledge on how those concepts influenced DSS related research, specifically in terms of their actual support of the three traditional decision-making phases, namely the intelligence, design and choice phases. Not only had we wanted to determine the actual contribution of each cluster to the support of the phases of decision-making process, but also we wanted to perceive the interconnections among the concept clusters themselves, for which we used structural equation modeling techniques.
The results presented in this paper evidence that not only online social networks are being used as a technical infrastructure to support the three decision making phases and to support knowledge management and online communities, but also that the other clusters only regard the intelligence phase of the decision process.