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The formation of a system of systems from a collection of interdependent systems does so in response to a collaborative mechanism. The nature of the constituent systems that compose the system of systems is a paradox by which they maintain an autonomous behavior and yet join the collective in collaboration. A social function can describe the system of systems mechanism that considers the value of collaborative relationships, and stresses preferences for action rather than an independent action of the individual systems. The constituent systems of the system of systems balance the risk of belonging with that of autonomy. This decision dichotomy is an example of typical decision makers that must balance cost and risk against achieving goals in a satisficing environment. A process beginning with a global goal serves to construct a multicriteria decision process creating the set of alternatives representing choices forming a collective social function that binds the system of systems. A case study demonstrates a simple application of independent autonomous systems collaborating to affect a holistic response with positive results.