Online konsensus, Hvordan? - Strukturerede synkrone diskussioner i distribuerede grupper: Online Consensus, how? - Structured syncronized discussions in distibuted teams

Anders Lorentz Hansen

Studenteropgave: Speciale


This thesis is about how a system can help or improve the possibilities for a distributed group to achieve consensus. Prior research shows that: ”Computermediated discussion groups take more time to make decisions, are more prone toward conflict, and, most importantly, have more difficulty achieving consensus” The main thought behind this thesis is that if a computer system can help and guide the group through a better and more effective decisionmaking process, which can help the group to reach consensus, there is much to win. Therefore an embedded structure have been designed and implemented in a collaboration system to see if and how the embedded structure can improve the groups possibilities to achieve consensus. An experiment have been set up, where six groups have tried to solve “The Foundation Task”, a “multiattribute decision problem” with the goal to achieve consensus. Three groups have used the system with the embedded structure and three groups without. In that way it is possible to analyse how the embedded structure influence the possibilities for consensus. There are three main results from the experiment. The first is that the embedded structure have a huge impact on the groups decisionmaking process. The groups with the embedded structure work more organised and more seldom loose focus on the task, and they work more thoroughly with the task. The groups without the embedded structure use a more “laissez faire” approach which means that they for example more often becomes victims to group thinking, and in the work process the discussion more often ends in an tangent and the group losses focus. The conclusion is that the embedded structure have an heavy and apparently positive impact on the process. The second result from the experiment is that even though there is a big difference between the processes there is no difference between how the group members feel about the level of consensus. All the participant feel content and happy with the groups result, and they all feel that the group reached a satisfying consensus. The third result is that when you look at the “real” level of consensus, there is a difference. When the participants from the groups with the embedded structure solve the task individually after the experiment, their solution is much more like the solution the group made, compared with the groups without the embedded structure. That means there is a gap between what the participant experience and feel, and how it really is. All in all this thesis shows that there is several things to gain with a embedded structure, but to put this knowledge into practice it is necessary with more research about for example how a embedded structure affects other types of tasks and why and how the difference between the experienced and the “real” level of consensus is handled.

UddannelserDatalogi, (Bachelor/kandidatuddannelse) Kandidat
Udgivelsesdato1 sep. 2008


  • Distributed teams
  • Decision process
  • Collaboration
  • Decision making online
  • Stuctured discussion
  • Consensus