Comparing traditional focus groups with a Group Support Systems (GSS) approach for use in SME research

Rick Newby, Geoff Soutar, John Watson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

12 Citations (Scopus)


This study examined the use of Group Support Systems (GSS) technology as a tool for soliciting perceptions, or ideas, from a target audience. We compared this approach to a more traditional focus group methodology, and concluded that GSS technology has a number of advantages. First, the relative anonymity of responses encouraged participation from the more 14 timid group members, ensuring vocal individuals did not dominate. Second, the GSS technology made the findings available to group members immediately, so that clarification, correction and some quantitative analysis of responses could take place during the session. Third, the GSS approach allowed ideas to be separated from the person, ensuring that any subsequent discussion was depersonalized. Fourth, the results were available AA immediately after the session. Finally, the GSS technology was more cost effective because the additional cost of using this approach was more than offset by the savings from not having to transcribe participants' responses.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)421-433
JournalInternational Small Business Journal
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2003

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