In a distributed environment, multiple stakeholders working on a common design project are usually at different geographical locations and with different organization cultural. In order to resolve the conflicts and facilitate the collaboration, local negotiations within a stakeholder group (intra-stakeholder) and global negotiations with other stakeholders (inter-stakeholder) co-exist. Strategic support is necessary and important to facilitate the integrative negotiation at the both intra- and inter- levels for effective distributed decision making. Existing work has recognized that risk [1] is one crucial criterion among several others underlining the collaborative decision making, either for group planning or developing a product or designing an experiment. Built upon this knowledge, this work proposes a risk-based global coordination methodology to support the negotiations among distributed stakeholders in collaborative design. The challenge here is that the distributed stakeholders have different risk information, interpretations, and evaluations, which may be subjective and even inaccurate from a global perspective, and this may affect the quality of their decisions made when the group tries to work as a whole. The proposed approach identifies, captures, and synthesizes the heterogeneous risk evaluations across distributed, multiple stakeholders, and then uses a global coordination scheme to achieve globally consistent risk assessment (consensus building) based on certain negotiation criteria. In this paper, core concepts and a theoretical framework of the risk-based global coordination methodology are presented. An example problem from a NSF/NEES-sponsored research collaborative network is used to demonstrate the use of the methodology. The preliminary results show that this method has potential in supporting negotiations based on risk assessment and management in distributed decision making.

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