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Using the GSS for business networking
There are a number of benefits to SME's to be gained from operating in business networks, such as, access to marketing information, sharing operational information, sharing resources and possible entry into other associated networks. However, staff in SME's often find that barriers to entry make it difficult to access appropriate networks for a number of reasons, such as, geographic dispersion, lack of time because of high workloads, and the difficulty of getting to know people. These barriers to entry are well known and documented in the business networking literature. Group Support Systems (GSS) have certain attributes that could help to reduce the barriers to entry into business networks. This paper specifically investigates the possible use of GSS, whether distributed or same time/same place, to facilitate the entry of new players into exis ting networks, the creation of new networks, and the further development of relationships within existing networks. To provide a focus for this conceptual paper the specific case of SME's gaining entry into tourism networks is discussed.