Task Group on
Learning from Case Studies in Decision Making and Decision Support
Chair of the task force: Fergal Carton, University College Cork Ireland
An Agenda for Research
The task force's research activities focus on: learning from case studies of decision making and decision support.
Our interest was primarily in a mode of research which focuses on single instances of phenomena, such that n = 1. This however, is not sufficient as this focus on single cases has sometimes been associated with (or criticised for) excessively descriptive types of research. Our aim therefore is to carry out such studies of single cases in a way that ensures that conceptualisation is always achieved at the end and that specific, observable and useable research findings are derived.
The accumulation of cases carried out can then be used to build up theories and frameworks of broad applicability to our field. In this context, members of the task force have expressed interest in using the case study approach in a number of directions:
1. Decision Support and teaching / learning
2. Support for Interdisciplinary Teams
3. Physical environments for Decision Making
4. Information and Communication Technologies for Decision Support
5. Decision Making in the Adaptive organisation
6. Knowledge embeddedness in Decision Systems / Impact on organisational agility
Meetings of the Task Group
The 6th and final meeting of the IFIP 8.3 Task Group took place at the DSS2010 Open Conference Lisbon, July 7th 2010.
The principal theme of the Lisbon meeting was the elaboration of case study attributes that might be used to build a framework to represent the complexity of teaching cases. Although a Case complexity framework had been presented at the London 09 meeting which mapped case complexity against two attributes (complexity of scenario versus complexity of underlying theory), the work at this meeting resulted in the development of a more complete set of attributes, and a corresponding framework Using this framework will help to build a portfolio of cases with purposeful gradation in complexity depending on intended audience or utilisation.
Publication of Task Group Work
The work of the group was published in a special issue of the Journal of Decision Systems: Vol 17. No1, 2008. It featured some of the best papers from the Paris, London, Budapest and Samos meetings of the task force The special issue was edited by David Sammon and Patrick Humphreys.
Additionally, a book is being prepared on the specific topic of learning from case studies in decision making and decision support. This book will be in two parts: a first methodological part which will present a number of key chapters on how to research and write rich case studies and a second part with a selection of cases provided by task force members. Each case will be designed to demonstrate particular aspects of case study research and case study use in teaching. Many such cases are already available within the task force. Frederic Adam is leading this project. He has approached two major editors with this project and the feed back is good. The detailed call for chapters will be issued as soon as the contract with the publisher is signed.
Membership of the Task Group
Members of the task force were: Fred Adam, Marco Bohanec, Patrick Brezillon, Sven Carlsson, Fergal Carton, Joao Climaco, Eidi Cruz-Valdivieso, Jozsef Csicsman, Mary Daly, Guisseppi Forgione, Peter Gelleri, Rien Hamers, Patrick Humphreys, Garrick Jones, Peter Keenan, Piero Migliarese, Manuel Mora, Karen Neville, Peter O’Donnell. Dan O’Leary, Zita Paprika, David Paradice, Daniel Power, Ana Respicio, Simon Woodworth.