Microlevel Structuration in Computer‐Supported Group Decision Making


Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The theory of Structuration focuses on how actions by members of social collectives create the structures that enable and constrain future action. Most previous research on Structuration in groups and organizations used qualitative case studies because Structuration is quite complex. This study introduces a method for the study of Structuration in larger samples of groups or organizations. A category system for the identification of structuring moves is described, along with several methods for characterizing short‐ and long‐term trends in Structuration processes. The method is used to study how groups incorporate a computerized group decision support system (GDSS) into their decision processes. GDSSs are part of a class of new computer and communication technologies designed to help groups improve their meetings and make better decisions. Because GDSSs must be used by a group rather than an individual, social processes are critical in determining their effects on group outcomes. GDSSs influence groups by structuring their activities, and structurational processes are critical mediators of the impacts of GDSSs on group decision making. The study focused on the effects of restrictiveness of GDSS technology on Structuration processes and, in turn, on the relation of Structuration to a key group outcome, consensus change. The results suggest that two major types of structuring processes occur in computer‐supported groups and that the nature of structuration is related to degree of consensus change.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5-49
Number of pages45
JournalHuman Communication Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Sep 1992
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Anthropology
  • Linguistics and Language

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