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San Diego State University

Fowler College of
Business Administration

Intellectual Contribution

A six-layer model of Collaboration
Briggs, R. O., Kolfschoten, G. L., Vreede, G. J., Albrecht, C., Lukosch, S. G., Dean, D. L.
Type of Research
Chapter(s) in Books
Date Published
2014, Before July
Contribution Type
Discipline-based scholarship (basic research)
Contribution Category
Anthology Title
Collaboration Systems: Concept, Value, and Use
ME Sharpe
Armonk, New York; London, England
Page Number(s)
Designers of collaboration systems address many interrelated issues in a social-technical context. The volume, complexity, and variety of issues can invoke cognitive overload, causing deficiencies in system designs which, in turn, can reduce the effectiveness of teams. We use inductive logic to derive six key areas of concern for designers of collaboration support systems. We use deductive logic to argue that these areas address collaboration at differing levels of abstraction, and so may be organized into a six-layer model, affording separation of concerns at design time. The layers are: Collaboration Goals, Group Products, Group Activities, Group Procedures, Collaboration Tools, and Collaborative Behaviors. At each layer and between adjacent layers there are different outcomes of interest, different constructs, theories and metrics, different ways of modeling collaboration, and different design concerns and methods. The model provides for a separation of concerns at design time, which may reduce cognitive load for designers and may help to improve completeness and consistency of their designs, yielding higher productivity for collaborating groups.