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Collaborative Work Systems Design

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For More Information:
 Center for Collaborative Organizations, University of North Texas,

To create a framework for successfully changing the organization to support collaboration and improve business results. 

  • A holistic framework that incorporates the perspectives of a cross-section ofthe organization 
  • A plan of concrete actions to be accomplished 
  • Opportunity to bridge work across traditional boundaries 

When to Use: 
  • Planning or renewing organizational change 
  • Building collaboration into the organization 
  • Integrating multiple change efforts 

When Not to Use: 

  • No commitment by decision makers to participate or act on the results 
  • Insufficient infrastructure and resources 

Number of Participants: 
  • 5–30 per design event 
  • Multiple sessions may accommodate the whole organization 

Types of Participants: 
  • Change leaders 
  • Steering Committee members 
  • Design Team members 
  • Line managers 
  • Other internal stakeholders 

Typical Duration: 
  • Assessment: 2–6 weeks 
  • Workshop: 1–5 days 
  • Change Process: Several months to many years, depending on scope ofchange 

Brief Example: 

A glass plant recognized the need for broad organizational changes to achieve its desired business goals. The company used Collaborative Work Systems Design in conjunction with existing process, quality, and cultural initiatives. The result was a comprehensive, integrated design to take the organization to the next level. 

Historical Context: 
Created in 2000 by Michael Beyerlein, Cheryl Harris, and Sarah Bodner.