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Man-Machine Communication: An Experimental Analysis of Heuristic Problem-Solving under On-Line and Batch-Processing Conditions

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1 Author(s)

Possibly the most revolutionary development to impact upon decisionmaking has been the electronic computer. Its capability to process large volumes of data rapidly, to make complex computations in fractions of seconds, and to provide outputs in a variety of formats has markedly expanded the boundaries of decisionmaking. Notwithstanding such progress, the computer's contribution to decisionmaking has thus far been largely limited to routine and repetitive operations which lend themselves to the development of standard decisionmaking procedures. This has been an important contribution, yet most decisionmaking situations, particularly at higher levels of management, are unique and ill structured requiring flexible and adaptive responses. Man-machine systems are thought to offer potential for assisting management in meeting these requirements. The study reported here examines comparative problem-solving performance of individuals communicating directly with the computer (on-line processing) versus individuals communicating with the computer in an intermittent fashion (batch processing). The study is marked by an effort to take up the challenge of management problems having no set solution procedure. Performance measurements include objective functions, understanding of variable interactions, and comparative problem-solving patterns.

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IEEE Transactions on Systems, Man, and Cybernetics  (Volume:SMC-6 ,  Issue: 11 )