Linking modularity with problem solving and coordination efforts
AbstractWe explore the relationship between process architecture decisions, problem solving and coordination efforts during distributed product development, i.e., when development work is dispersed across organizational boundaries. Process architecture refers to the manner in which the tasks and interfaces within a project are organized so that a project can be executed in an efficient manner. The theoretical foundation for our investigation draws upon the information processing (IP) view of product development and transaction cost economics. The IP view calls for manipulation of the architecture by making problem-solving tasks modular, such that reducing task interdependencies minimizes the development time. The transaction cost view calls for transactional efficiency, for example, reduction in the coordination burden for each productive task. We present several measures of modularity based on a design structure matrix (DSM) mapping of the development task structure. Then, we analyze the relation between these measures and transactional efficacy and task completion times. Our empirical evidence comes from 71 tasks carried out in 11 software development projects. Data analyses show that the improvement in the transactional efficacy is associated with increase in task modularity. Our results establish that increasing modularity reduces the development time and the coordination effort. However, these results also suggest trade-offs: modularity measures do not contribute equally to this gain in efficiency and increasing modularity is negatively associated with the technical problem-solving efforts. Copyright © 2008 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoArticle provided by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. in its journal Managerial and Decision Economics.
Volume (Year): 29 (2008)
Issue (Month): 5 ()
Contact details of provider:
Web page: http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/cgi-bin/jhome/7976
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Sharon Novak & Steven D. Eppinger, 2001. "Sourcing By Design: Product Complexity and the Supply Chain," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 47(1), pages 189-204, January.
- Manuel E. Sosa & Steven D. Eppinger & Craig M. Rowles, 2004. "The Misalignment of Product Architecture and Organizational Structure in Complex Product Development," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 50(12), pages 1674-1689, December.
- Christian Terwiesch & Christoph H. Loch, 1999. "Measuring the Effectiveness of Overlapping Development Activities," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 45(4), pages 455-465, April.
- Christoph H. Loch & Christian Terwiesch, 1998. "Communication and Uncertainty in Concurrent Engineering," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 44(8), pages 1032-1048, August.
- Donald Gerwin & Nicholas J. Barrowman, 2002. "An Evaluation of Research on Integrated Product Development," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 48(7), pages 938-953, July.
- V. Krishnan & Karl T. Ulrich, 2001. "Product Development Decisions: A Review of the Literature," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 47(1), pages 1-21, January.
- Pierre Azoulay, 2003. "Acquiring Knowledge Within and Across Firm Boundaries: Evidence from Clinical Development," NBER Working Papers 10083, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Viswanathan Krishnan & Steven D. Eppinger & Daniel E. Whitney, 1997. "A Model-Based Framework to Overlap Product Development Activities," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 43(4), pages 437-451, April.
- Alan MacCormack & Roberto Verganti & Marco Iansiti, 2001. "Developing Products on "Internet Time": The Anatomy of a Flexible Development Process," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 47(1), pages 133-150, January.
- Robert P. Smith & Steven D. Eppinger, 1997. "Identifying Controlling Features of Engineering Design Iteration," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 43(3), pages 276-293, March.
- Morelli, Mark Damian. & Eppinger, Steven D. & Gulati, Rosaline K. & International Center for Research on the Management of Technology., 1995. "Predicting technical communication in product development organizations," Working papers 3602-95, 1995. WP (Intern, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Sloan School of Management.
- McCord, Kent R. (Kent Richard) & Eppinger, Steven Daniel., 1993. "Managing the integration problem in concurrent engineering," Working papers 3594-93., Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Sloan School of Management.
- Dewen Yao, 2013. "Understanding Industrial Innovation and Upgrade from Modularization’s Perspective," Journal of Knowledge Management, Economics and Information Technology, ScientificPapers.org, vol. 3(6), pages 11, December.
- Sylvie Geisendorf, 2010. "Searching NK Fitness Landscapes: On the Trade Off Between Speed and Quality in Complex Problem Solving," Computational Economics, Society for Computational Economics, vol. 35(4), pages 395-406, April.
- Israelsen, Poul & Jørgensen, Brian, 2011. "Decentralizing decision making in modularization strategies: Overcoming barriers from dysfunctional accounting systems," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 131(2), pages 453-462, June.
- Andreas Reinstaller, 2011. "The Modularity of Technology and Organisations. Implications for the Theory of the Firm," WIFO Working Papers 398, WIFO.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Wiley-Blackwell Digital Licensing) or (Christopher F. Baum).
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.