Designing Effective Decision Support Using Decisional Guidance
This study explores the decision outcomes achieved by 122 subjects using a DSS for an insolvency decision making task. Decision quality improvements occur as a result of collaboration between the decision maker and the DSS at two crucial points in the decision making process. Firstly when the decision maker initially interacts with the DSS to generate a recommendation, and secondly when the decision maker decides whether to incorporate that recommendation into their decision. Good technology design will assist a decision maker to generate a high quality recommendation; however the ensuing acceptance or otherwise of the recommendation is what ultimately affects the decision outcome. The study encompasses exploration of DSS use, and how decision outcomes are subsequently impacted. The results show that providing decisional guidance, in particular suggestive guidance, helped novice decision makers produce higher quality recommendations; and that adoption of those recommendations improved decision quality. The results are consistent with the theoretical premise that a key design issue is providing appropriate guidance to fit the task and individual, rather than simply guidance per se. The results show decision performance is a function of both how the technology is designed and used; and whether the user incorporates the recommendation received into their final decision. DSS use is a necessary, but not sufficient, precursor to improved decision outcomes.