Collaborative decision making in complex work settings: a process of managing inter dependencies

Selvaraj, Nallini (2016) Collaborative decision making in complex work settings: a process of managing inter dependencies. PhD thesis, Middlesex University. [Thesis]

PDF - Final accepted version (with author's formatting)
Download (6MB) | Preview


There exists disparity between the conceptualization and occurrence of Collaborative Decision Making (CDM) in everyday work activities of complex work settings. Current notions in the field of Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW) based on studies of decision making in groups typically portray CDM as an isolated event in which multiple personnel jointly undertake decision making. In the real world, however, decisions are made during work performance and interlaced with other processes and activities. Moreover, the complex work setting is a cooperative arrangement in which decision making is distributed. This research aims to alleviate the disparity by investigating how people in a complex working environment make decisions collaboratively. The original contribution to knowledge made by this thesis is the theory of CDM as a process of managing interdependencies.

Field-studies conducted in an airport to examine the way CDM is undertaken during Air Traffic Control operations inform theory development. The study takes a qualitative approach and is guided by Grounded Theory Methodology (GTM). The findings of this research indicate that undertaking decision making in the cooperative arrangement of complex work settings requires managing the distributions and interconnections inherent in this setup. In addition, participation and contribution of personnel in decision making is found to be structured by the dependencies between their activities. These findings form the central focus of the theory leading to the depiction of CDM as a process of managing interdependencies.
The theory presented in this thesis clarifies and extends existing views by explicating the differentiated process of CDM in the cooperative arrangement of a complex work setting. Based on this a new definition of CDM is formulated. In addition, a conceptual framework of ten parameters is derived to serve as a tool for analysing CDM taking place in a particular work setting. Application of this framework is demonstrated by analysing an aircraft accident report to draw insights about the occurrence of CDM in this setting.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Research Areas: A. > School of Science and Technology
A. > School of Science and Technology > Computer Science
B. > Theses
Item ID: 21227
Depositing User: Jennifer Basford
Date Deposited: 08 Feb 2017 12:08
Last Modified: 21 Jun 2021 16:47

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


Activity Overview
6 month trend
6 month trend

Additional statistics are available via IRStats2.