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The Modularity of Technology and Organisations. Implications for the Theory of the Firm

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  • Andreas Reinstaller

    (WIFO)

Abstract

This paper gives a selective overview on contributions studying issues of complexity, near-decomposability and modularity in relation to economic behaviour and the theory of the firm. In the first part the paper reviews contributions studying the relationship between human problem solving in the face of complex problems and the emergence of specific technological and organisational designs. The second part of the paper reviews recent research that has studied the impact of modular designs in the organisation of production at the firm level on industrial organisation and dynamics. The paper draws some conclusions on future avenues of research.

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File URL: http://www.wifo.ac.at/wwa/pubid/42113
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by WIFO in its series WIFO Working Papers with number 398.

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Length: 25 pages
Date of creation: 28 Jun 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:wfo:wpaper:y:2011:i:398

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Keywords: Innovation decision; catching up; distance to frontier;

This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

References

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  1. Hoetker, Glenn, 2002. "Do Modular Products Lead to Modular Organizations?," Working Papers 02-0130, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, College of Business.
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  9. Fixson, Sebastian K. & Park, Jin-Kyu, 2008. "The power of integrality: Linkages between product architecture, innovation, and industry structure," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 37(8), pages 1296-1316, September.
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  12. Aldo Enrietti & Pier Paolo Patrucco, 2011. "Systemic innovation and organizational change in the car industry: electric vehicle innovation platforms," ECONOMIA E POLITICA INDUSTRIALE, FrancoAngeli Editore, vol. 2011(2), pages 85-106.
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  14. Hoetker, Glenn, 2002. "How Much You Know versus How Well I Know You: Selecting a Supplier for a Technically Innovative Component," Working Papers 02-0106, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, College of Business.
  15. Schmickl, Christina & Kieser, Alfred, 2008. "How much do specialists have to learn from each other when they jointly develop radical product innovations?," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 37(6-7), pages 1148-1163, July.
  16. Langlois, Richard N., 2002. "Modularity in technology and organization," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 49(1), pages 19-37, September.
  17. Herbert A. Simon, 2002. "Near decomposability and the speed of evolution," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 11(3), pages 587-599, June.
  18. Milgrom, Paul & Roberts, John, 1990. "The Economics of Modern Manufacturing: Technology, Strategy, and Organization," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(3), pages 511-28, June.
  19. 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.
  20. Andreas Reinstaller & Werner Hölzl, 2009. "Big causes and small events: QWERTY and the mechanization of office work," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 18(5), pages 999-1031, October.
  21. Stefano Brusoni & Luigi Marengo & Andrea Prencipe & Marco Valente, 2004. "The Value and Costs of Modularity: A Cognitive Perspective," SPRU Working Paper Series 123, SPRU - Science and Technology Policy Research, University of Sussex.
  22. von Hippel, Eric, 1990. "Task partitioning: An innovation process variable," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 19(5), pages 407-418, October.
  23. Sendil K. Ethiraj & Daniel Levinthal & Rishi R. Roy, 2008. "The Dual Role of Modularity: Innovation and Imitation," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 54(5), pages 939-955, May.
  24. Michael Hobday & Andrew Davies & Andrea Prencipe, 2005. "Systems integration: a core capability of the modern corporation," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 14(6), pages 1109-1143, December.
  25. Markus C. Becker, 2004. "Organizational routines: a review of the literature," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 13(4), pages 643-678, August.
  26. Kindleberger, Charles P, 1983. "Standards as Public, Collective and Private Goods," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 36(3), pages 377-96.
  27. Simon, Herbert A, 1978. "Rationality as Process and as Product of Thought," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 68(2), pages 1-16, May.
  28. Ulrich, Karl, 1995. "The role of product architecture in the manufacturing firm," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 24(3), pages 419-440, May.
  29. Reinstaller, Andreas, 2007. "The division of labor in the firm: Agency, near-decomposability and the Babbage principle," Journal of Institutional Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 3(03), pages 293-322, December.
  30. Jan W. Rivkin, 2000. "Imitation of Complex Strategies," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 46(6), pages 824-844, June.
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