Abrasive finishing is one among several surface generation processes, of which grinding process is a subset. In a typical grinding process, six different interactions can be identified at the grinding zone, resulting in surface generation. Among these six interactions, one is governed by the principles of machining, while the others are governed by the principles of tribology. A systematic analysis of these interactions helps to understand the role of both tribological mechanisms and machining interactions in a typical grinding process. Analysis and study of such microscopic interactions and their time-dependent variations also provide an ability to develop a common scientific framework that can be applied for a wide variety of grinding processes and applications. Such framework and associated system thinking enables engineers to be capable of addressing the needs to support a wide variety of industries and end user needs at a time of hyper specialization and narrow boundaries that constrain the professionals. © 2017 by ASME.