ABSTRACT Emerging group technologies are attracting attention from researchers and practitioners for the benefits they potentially offer in terms of communications, productivity, and decision‐making capabilities within an organization. To date, research in this area has focused on process or outcome variables, substantively ignoring organizational context issues. This paper reports on a field study that investigated users' perceptions of the impact of group support systems on power and influence within the organization. The study was conducted within a division of a major U.S. software company specializing in the development of business software tools for desktop PCs. Fifteen purposively selected managers and nonmanagers, spanning diverse functional areas, were extensively interviewed for this study. Evidence gathered suggested that group support systems are perceived to exert an equalizing force on power and influence by (1) increasing participation in the decision‐making process, (2) improving access to information, (3) improving access to persons, (4) reducing the “power distance” to key individuals, and (5) providing increased opportunities to influence the opinions of others. These results provide a basis for future studies that will attempt to clarify the relationships between organizational context and group technology usage.
Decision Sciences – Wiley
Published: Oct 1, 1997
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