The use of expert systems for decision making in organizations
The research described in this thesis investigates three issues related to the use of expert systems for decision making in organizations. These are the effectiveness of ESs when used in different roles, to replace a human decision maker or to advise a human decision maker, the users' behaviourand opinions towards using an expertadvisory system and, the possibility of organization-wide deployment of expert systems and the role of an ES in different organizational levels. The research was based on the development of expert systems within a business game environment, a simulation of a manufacturing company. This was chosen to give more control over the `experiments' than would be possible in a real organization. An expert system (EXGAME) was developed based on a structure derived from Anthony's three levels of decision making to manage the simulated company in the business game itself with little user intervention. On the basis of EXGAME, an expert advisory system (ADGAME) was built to help game players to make better decisions in managing the game company. EXGAME and ADGAME are thus two expert systems in the same domain performing different roles; it was found that ADGAME had, in places, to be different from EXGAME, not simply an extension of it. EXGAME was tested several times against human rivals and was evaluated by measuring its performance. ADGAME was also tested by different users and was assessed by measuring the users' performance and analysing their opinions towards it as a helpful decision making aid. The results showed that an expert system was able to replace a human at the operational level, but had difficulty at the strategic level. It also showed the success of the organization-wide deployment of expert systems in this simulated company.