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Making Design Rules: A Multi-Domain Perspective

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Abstract

This study analyzes the processes whereby organizations develop radical innovations in response to environmental transformations. It explores the changes in organizational structures, practices and business strategies entailed by the implementation of such innovations. From the literature on modularity, we borrow the idea that the evolutionary dynamics of artifacts and organizations are linked by design rules, i.e. a set of principles that allocate functions to components, identify the operating principle of each component and determine the interfaces among modules. Through an in-depth case study of radical innovation in tire manufacturing, we study the joint dynamics of technical and organizational change during the transition from old to new design rules. We argue that technical change and organization adaptation are linked, but that such relationship is mediated and rendered open-ended by the evolution of the underlying bodies of knowledge.

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File URL: http://www.sussex.ac.uk/spru/documents/sewp136.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by SPRU - Science and Technology Policy Research, University of Sussex in its series SPRU Working Paper Series with number 136.

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Length: 37 pages
Date of creation: 10 Oct 2005
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:sru:ssewps:136

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Keywords: organizational change; innovation; technological change; modularity; tire manufacturing;

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References

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  1. Langlois, Richard N. & Robertson, Paul L., 1992. "Networks and innovation in a modular system: Lessons from the microcomputer and stereo component industries," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 21(4), pages 297-313, August.
  2. Richard N. Langlois, 2002. "The Vanishing Hand: the Changing Dynamics of Industrial Capitalism," Working papers 2002-21, University of Connecticut, Department of Economics.
  3. D'Adderio, Luciana, 2001. "Crafting the virtual prototype: how firms integrate knowledge and capabilities across organisational boundaries," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 30(9), pages 1409-1424, December.
  4. Timothy J. Sturgeon, 2002. "Modular production networks: a new American model of industrial organization," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 11(3), pages 451-496, June.
  5. Ulrich, Karl, 1995. "The role of product architecture in the manufacturing firm," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 24(3), pages 419-440, May.
  6. William Lazonick & Andrea Prencipe, 2005. "Dynamic capabilities and sustained innovation: strategic control and financial commitment at Rolls-Royce plc," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 14(3), pages 501-542, June.
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Cited by:
  1. Alexander Peine, 2008. "Challenging incommensurability – What we can learn from Ludwik Fleck for the analysis of complex technical systems," Innovation Studies Utrecht (ISU) working paper series 08-21, Utrecht University, Department of Innovation Studies, revised Oct 2008.
  2. Antonino Vaccaro & Stefano Brusoni & Francisco Veloso, 2007. "The Role of Virtual Design Tools on Knowledge Replication and Recombination: An Empirical Investigation," KITeS Working Papers 198, KITeS, Centre for Knowledge, Internationalization and Technology Studies, Universita' Bocconi, Milano, Italy, revised Feb 2007.
  3. Stefano Brusoni & Giorgia Sgalari, 2006. "New combinations in old industries," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 16(1), pages 25-43, April.
  4. Mario Benassi, 2009. "Investigating modular organizations," Journal of Management and Governance, Springer, vol. 13(3), pages 163-192, August.
  5. Stefano Brusoni & Lorenzo Cassi, 2007. "Re-Inventing the Wheel: Knowledge Integration in Fast-changing Environments," KITeS Working Papers 209, KITeS, Centre for Knowledge, Internationalization and Technology Studies, Universita' Bocconi, Milano, Italy, revised Dec 2007.

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