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Implementation Of Group Discussion Support System In Woolworth’s

Question

Task: Prepare a report addressing the role of Group Discussion support system (GDSS) in Woolworth’s work environment and discuss how it works.

Answer

Introduction
The present study revolves around discussing the concept of Group Discussion support system in Woolworth’s work environment. Every business needs interaction and communication among its managers, employees, and other stakeholders. This interaction is an essential element in any industry, be it business or professional field. Communication is the process of interchange of information, ideas, and understanding among individuals or a group of persons (Neuliep, 2016). As many scholars state that for communication to be initiated, there must be two parties involved, a sender and a receiver. A sender is a person who starts the process of communication. On the other hand, the receiver is the person for whom the message is meant. However, the process of communication is incomplete without a response to the message. Thus only conveying a piece of information does not end the cycle of communication feedback or response is necessary to complete the communication process.

Although it is believed that “communication styles are somewhat informal in Australia," as stated by Xu & Lee (2019), in comparison to other corporate cultures. It must also be stated that the Australian work culture is strict with respect to punctuality. There are certain types of communication modes used in the Australian Workplace:

  • Face to face communication
  • Group discussion support system
  • Social media
  • Computer-supported collaborative software
  • Instant messaging

The above-mentioned methods are the widely used modes of communication that have been followed in the Australian work environment. This report provides a detailed study on one internet-based communication mode that is widely prevalent in the Australian Work culture. The method chosen for the study is Group Discussion support system (GDSS) in Woolworth’s work environment and how it works.

Literature review
Overview of GDS at Woolworths
Group discussion support system (GDSS) is a computer-based collaborative software that facilitates the decision making of a group of persons. It helps the decision-makers in finding out solutions to the organizational problems that are unstructured. These support systems help individuals to interact from different places and come to an agreement on the problems thus stated. It is an internet-based support system that helps in interaction from any part of the world (Morente-Molinera et al., 2018). There are certain tools and techniques provided by GDSS that adds to the effectiveness of such systems. The group meetings can be held anywhere with the help of a portable electronic device and an internet connection. Groupware and video conferencing also function in the same way; the only difference is that video conferencing assist in the interaction, whereas GDSS is a decision-making tool.

The Australian work culture is a diverse mixture of ethics and professionalism. It is a multilingual nation where English is the primary language spoken. Although some native languages still prevail, the Australian work culture requires the use of primary language for its business activities. It is believed that the Australian work culture is not strict in relation to other work cultures of the UK and US as stated by Baldwin (2017), yet they have rules and regulations that are required to be followed while working in a business environment

Woolworth's Group is considered the number one food retailer in the Australian market. It has several supermarkets and general stores to its name that specialize in the business of food and other consumer products. It is also involved in services such as accommodations, pubs, and gaming operations (Woolworthsgroup.com.au, 2020). Its market capitalization and consumer loyalty has made the company what it is today. As it is a diverse business, there is a constant need for meetings and clients, and this communication is an essential element for the business to flourish. Hence, Woolworth uses Group Discussion support system while conducting meetings and implementation of policy rules and formulation (Yazdani et al., 2017). The board meetings are carried out in a systematic manner and involve active participation by the management.

In Woolworth, a group discussion support system, the meeting carried out is electronic, where the participant is provided with a computer. The computers are connected via system software to the facilitator’s network and to the server of files. A projector screen is available at the front of the meeting room. The facilitator and the group members can project their ideas and images on this screen. A group discussion support system meeting has certain different stages, such as the generation of the thought, discussion, voting, and counting of votes. The facilitator is the person that manages the activities of a GDSS with the help of software tools. The facilitator monitors this software.

The system of GDS
A group, discussion support system comprises three elements, namely software tools, hardware, and people. The software includes such tools as electronic questionnaires, brainstorming tools, policy formulation, idea organizers, and tools for setting up priority. These tools help in the proper implementation of ideas in a systematic manner. It helps the decision-makers to organize, plan, collect information, and establish priorities that documents the proceedings of the meeting. In this way, the sessions are less time consuming and systematic. Hardware is the equipment that is required to carry out the meetings (Yazdani et al., 2017). These components are computer, internet connection equipment, electronic projectors, and audiovisual tools. The physical setup of the room must be such that it is easier to set up the components and enable the team to carry out the activities in an effortless manner. Lastly, people are essential criteria that are needed to carry out the group discussion support system.

There are individual components of GDSS that define its functioning and performance. Electronic brainstorming tools are an essential part of GDSS. It allows the group members to contribute their ideas and suggestions to the company and clear any doubts on the subject matter of the meeting (Neuliep, 2016). An electronic questionnaire is provided to the members that help in the organizing of the conference and identify any issues related to the meeting. An idea organizer helps to formulate all the ideas and come to a decision regarding the meeting. The priority of files can be set so that it helps in defining the techniques used in the voting and setting of priorities in the group meeting. 

Benefits of GDSS in Woolworths
Group discussion support systems are easy to use and are a reliable source for carrying out group discussions in the Australian workplace of Woolworth. The interactive interface and flexibility is the added benefit in its working. It helps in better decision making in a business environment and does not require the presence of all the group members in one place (Woolworthsgroup.com.au, 2020). As many locations can be accessed while conducting group discussions. It is a secure method of communication for the higher authorities as they can assign work to their employees from anywhere. General support is provided by the facilitator of the meeting to the group member and explains the causes and effects of the conference and its proceedings. It controls all the phases and helps the group members in gaining access to the system. Group Discussion support system supports all stages of decision making (Burger, 2018). In a group discussion system, ideas can flow from all directions and on the spot; decisions can be taken without any delay.

Drawbacks of GDSS in Woolworths
Although GDSS is a comprehensive network controlled decision-making system, it surely has certain disadvantages that hamper the communication structure of the company. Firstly, the cost of setting up a GDSS system can be very expensive. Not all companies can afford such an expensive method to conduct meetings (Ong, 2017). Secondly, technical failures or loss of network can disrupt the meetings as it fully relies upon web connectivity. There is a lack of security of such meetings as information can be leaked anytime. Lack of verbal presentation can lead to distortion of the message. It is needless to say that the users of group discussion support systems must have knowledge of its working and operation; otherwise, they may not be able to make full use of it.

Recommendation
GDSS has proven to be a useful source of group discussion that fits well into the organizational setup of Woolworth Group. It helps in the integration of the existing corporate framework. There are specific changes in its functioning that needs to be managed by the company from time to time. The company should formulate Artificial intelligence and expert system, which will help in making better decisions. If Group Discussion support system is available at lower costs, then it will be easier for other companies to adopt it. GDSS may also play a vital role in the future for virtual companies. As the location of the members doesn't matter in GDSS, it becomes easier to formulate policies and rules at any time. GDSS should be used only when the need arises and not to be done for internal meetings. Group Discussion support system can be used by various organizations for attaining feedbacks from the customers as well. The customers can voice their opinions and sent them to management. Then this can be used to identify customer issues. A right GDSS system can enable the enterprise to achieve effective business communication.

Conclusion
Group Discussion support system has proven to be the most effective means of communication in Woolworths. It has gained popularity due to its flexibility and improvised decision-making methods. The company has specialized ways to make GDSS more effective and useful in the workplace. Woolworth has enabled GDSS for almost all decision making processes of its firm and also advised its subsidiaries to adopt it. Its various uses have enabled the smooth flow of organizational tasks and have gained wider recognition due to its flexibility and usage benefits. All kinds of complex decision making can be achieved with the help of GDSS. It can help the company to grow in a diverse work environment. Therefore to conclude, it can be said that communication in the Australian work environment is quite informal, yet follows some rules and regulations.

Reference list
Baldwin, J. R. (2017). Communication Modes, Western. Group Discussion support system The International Encyclopedia of Intercultural Communication, 1-9.

Burger, K., White, L., & Yearworth, M. (2018). Why so serious? Theorizing playful model-driven group decision support with situated affectivity. Group Decision and Negotiation, 27(5), 789-810.

Carneiro, J., Alves, P., Marreiros, G., & Novais, P. (2019, June). A Conceptual Group Decision Support System for Current Times: Dispersed Group Decision-Making. International Symposium on Distributed Computing and Artificial Intelligence. Springer, Cham, 150-159.

Morente-Molinera, J. A., Kou, G., Peng, Y., Torres-Albero, C., & Herrera-Viedma, E. (2018). Analyzing discussions in social networks using group decision making methods and sentiment analysis. Information Sciences, 447, 157-168.

Neuliep, J. W. (2016). Intercultural communication: A contextual approach. Sage Publications

Ong, H. T. (2017). The Applications of GDSS & CSCWS Among the Top Corporations in Metro Manila and its Perceived Advantages and Disadvantages. Review of Integrative Business and Economics Research, 6(4), 243

Woolworthsgroup.com.au (2020), Woolworths Group retrieve on 17th Jan 2020 Retrieved from https://www.woolworthsgroup.com.au/page/about-us/

Xu, E., & Lee, T. (2019). Supermarket magazines and foodscape mediation in Australia. Communication Research and Practice, 1-14.

Yazdani, M., Zarate, P., Coulibaly, A., & Zavadskas, E. K. (2017). A group decision making support system in logistics and supply chain management. Group Discussion support system Expert Systems with Applications, 88, 376-392.

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