A Game-Theoretic Model of Collaboration in Engineering Design


This paper proposes a game-theoretic model that provides insights into conditions when two engineers collaborate on a design project which has both team and individual components. Collaboration of engineers with diverse technical backgrounds, such as those found in cross-functional teams, has been addressed as a key for successful product development. Similarly, the benefit of a team-based-project class is increasingly emphasized in curriculum development. In a single product design, a team project (in which two engineers work together) may be the design of a product base, and an individual project (in which engineers work individually) may be the design of chunks or modules assembled to the base. In a product family design, a team project may be the design of a product platform and an individual project may be the design of modules assembled to the platform that creates product variants. The proposed model assumes that the engineers receive the same evaluation on their team project (whether they actually contribute to the project or not), and independent evaluations on their individual projects. The proposed model identifies conditions that lead to collaboration of two engineers in the team project, which maximizes product performance. The insights obtained from the model and possible implications in design project and curriculum development are discussed. Copyright © 2010 by ASME.


Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Keywords and Phrases

Collaboration; Design Project; Game Theory; Prisoner's Dilemma

Document Type

Article - Journal

Document Version


File Type





© 2010 American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Jan 2010