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Research Papers

A Game-Theoretic Model of Collaboration in Engineering Design

[+] Author and Article Information
Shun Takai

Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Missouri University of Science and Technology, 290C Toomey Hall, 400 West, 13th Street, Rolla, MO 65409-0500takais@mst.edu

In economics, in the context of public goods, the phenomenon in which an individual contributes less and receives the same public benefits is called free riding(29). In social psychology, the phenomenon in which an individual performs worse when working in groups is called social loafing(30-32).

J. Mech. Des 132(5), 051005 (May 03, 2010) (10 pages) doi:10.1115/1.4001205 History: Received March 27, 2009; Revised January 28, 2010; Published May 03, 2010; Online May 03, 2010

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.

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Copyright © 2010 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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Figures

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Figure 1

Symmetric PD game payoff matrix

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Figure 2

Generic symmetric PD game payoff matrix

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Figure 4

Angle and orthogonality between vectors: (a) θ=0(d=0), (b) 0<θ<90(0<d<1), and (c) θ=90(d=1)

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Figure 5

Resource allocation in the design project: (a) team project and (b) individual project

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Figure 6

Product performance in the team project PT: (a) −1≤e<0, (b) e=0, and (c) 0<e≤1

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Figure 7

Product performance in individual projects: (a) P1 and (b) P2

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Figure 8

Product performance: (a) team project, (b) individual project, and (c) overall

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Figure 9

Engineer evaluation: (a) team project, (b) individual project, and (c) overall

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Figure 10

Resource allocation

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Figure 11

(α,β) for product performance PO∗<α+β

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Figure 12

Threshold of e, α, and β for α>2 and β>2: (a) from top view and (b) from angled view

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