Releasing the potential of online collaborative technologies in distributed work contexts is still a challenge for work systems managers. The availability of the technologies has outrun proven business models that can maximise the extraction of business value. Key problem areas remain in the management of online human interaction, control of business objectives within the medium, and risk management strategies. There are no easy technical solutions to these problems. In this paper the literature on online work systems is reviewed, key problem areas identified, and the solutions in the constrained human co-operation literature evaluated. The outcome variable demonstrates that traditional constraint models may be recast to explain some of the reported variation in online work systems.