A Systematic Repository of Conflict Management Expertise for Collaborative Design


This project aims at systematizing knowledge about how to manage collaborative design conflicts, an important subclass of exception, in a way helps researchers and practitioners both learn about and more systematically add to this body of knowledge. This work is led by Mark Klein and Feniosky Pena-Mora, and is funded by the NSF Computation and Social Systems Program,.


Increasingly, complex artifacts such as cars, planes and even software are designed using large-scale and conflict-prone collaborative processes. Current, mainly manual, conflict management practices are being overwhelmed by the sheer scale and complexity of these processes, leading to severe impacts on the the cost, timeliness and effectiveness of product design. Better approaches need to be adopted, but the lack of systematization of the knowledge in this field has been a big barrier to productive exploration of the range of possibilities and incorporating these ideas into business practices.


We are developing a formally represented, publically accessible repository of conflict management expertise organized in a way that (1) helps reveal the building blocks, key dimensions and regularities in this knowledge space, and thereby (2) facilitates important uses such as learning about conflict management, defining better collaborative design processes, discussing and augmenting this knowledge, and inventing new techniques.

Selected Publications

Towards a Systematic Repository of Knowledge About Managing Collaborative Design Conflicts. Proceedings of the International Conference on AI in Design. Boston, MA. 2000.

Supporting Conflict Management in Cooperative Design Teams. Journal on Group Decision and Negotiation. Special Issue on the 1992 Distributed AI Workshop. Volume 2, Pps 259-278, 1993.

Supporting Conflict Resolution in Cooperative Design Systems. IEEE Transactions on Systems, Man and Cybernetics. Special Issue on Distributed Artificial Intelligence. Volume 21, Number 6, December 1991.

Conflict Resolution in Cooperative Design. The International Journal For Artificial Intelligence in Engineering. Volume 4, Number 4, Pages 168-180, 1990.