Issues in the design of facilitated collaboration processes

Gwendolyn L. Kolfschoten, Mariëlle Den Hengst-Bruggeling, Gert Jan De Vreede

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


Groups often rely on the expertise of facilitators to support them in their collaboration processes. The design and preparation of a collaboration process is an important facilitation task. Although there is a significant body of knowledge about the effects of facilitation, there is a dearth of knowledge about the ways in which facilitators design collaboration processes. Increased understanding in this area will contribute to the effective design and use of collaboration support and to the development of collaboration process design support. The research reported in this paper explores the strategies and techniques facilitators use to design a collaboration process, and the aspects of this task they perceive as challenging. We present the results of a questionnaire among professional facilitators. We compare facilitators with different expertise levels to identify challenges in the design of collaboration processes. We discovered that although the activities performed and information used by novices is not very different from expert practices, their limited experience makes them less flexible. When the actual session brings surprises such as different outcomes or conflict, novices cannot easily adapt their designs to accommodate these.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)347-361
Number of pages15
JournalGroup Decision and Negotiation
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Collaboration Engineering
  • Collaboration process design
  • Design and preparation
  • Facilitation
  • Facilitation techniques
  • Group support systems

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Decision Sciences(all)
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Social Sciences(all)
  • Strategy and Management
  • Management of Technology and Innovation


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