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Title: Collective rationality of group decisions in collaborative engineering

Authors: Stephen C-Y. Lu

Addresses: The IMPACT Research Laboratory, Viterbi School of Engineering, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA 90089, USA

Abstract: Collaborative engineering is a dynamic socio-technical activity where a team of stakeholders works collaboratively to make group decisions based on collective rationality. This paper examines various impossibility conditions and possibility requirements for the existence of collective rationality from both theoretical and practical standpoints. Arrow|s Impossibility Theorem is examined in light of the special characteristics of collaborative engineering problems. Since from a theoretical standpoint, no social welfare function can satisfy Arrow|s rationality conditions of group decisions, this paper suggests some practical methods to guide collaborative engineering teams through teamwork and task-work iterations to approach collective rationality systematically when making group decisions.

Keywords: collective rationality; group decisions; collaborative engineering; decision making; collaboration; Arrow; impossibility theory; teamwork; task work.

DOI: 10.1504/IJCE.2009.027439

International Journal of Collaborative Engineering, 2009 Vol.1 No.1/2, pp.38 - 74

Published online: 24 Jul 2009 *

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