Economics of Product Development by Users: The Impact of "Sticky" Local Information
Those who solve more of a given type of problem tend to get better at it---which suggests that problems of any given type should be brought to specialists for a solution. However, in this paper we argue that agency-related costs and information transfer costs ("sticky" local information) will tend drive the locus of problem-solving in the opposite direction---away from problem-solving by specialist suppliers, and towards those who directly benefit from a solution and who have difficult-to-transfer local information about a particular application being solved, such as the direct users of a product or service. We examine the actual location of design activities in two fields in which custom products are produced by "mass-customization" methods: application-specific integrated circuits (ASICs) and computer telephony integration (CTI) systems. In both, we find that users rather than suppliers are the actual designers of the application-specific portion of the product types examined. We offer anecdotal evidence that the pattern of user-based customization we have documented in these two fields is in fact quite general, and we discuss implications for research and practice.
Volume (Year): 44 (1998)
Issue (Month): 5 (May)
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: 7240 Parkway Drive, Suite 300, Hanover, MD 21076 USA|
Web page: http://www.informs.org/
More information through EDIRC
References listed on IDEAS
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.:
- Michael L. Tushman & Ralph Katz, 1980. "External Communication and Project Performance: An Investigation into the Role of Gatekeepers," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 26(11), pages 1071-1085, November.
- von Hippel, Eric, 1990. "Task partitioning: An innovation process variable," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 19(5), pages 407-418, October.
- Habermeier, Karl F., 1990. "Product use and product improvement," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 19(3), pages 271-283, June.
- Richard R. Nelson, 1982. "The Role of Knowledge in R&D Efficiency," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 97(3), pages 453-470.
- Kenneth J. Arrow, 1962. "The Economic Implications of Learning by Doing," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 29(3), pages 155-173.
- Arora, Ashish & Gambardella, Alfonso, 1994. "The changing technology of technological change: general and abstract knowledge and the division of innovative labour," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 23(5), pages 523-532, September.
- Eric von Hippel, 1994. ""Sticky Information" and the Locus of Problem Solving: Implications for Innovation," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 40(4), pages 429-439, April.
- Ashish Arora & Alfonso Gambardella & Enzo Rullani, 1997. "Division of Labour and the Locus of Inventive Activity," Journal of Management & Governance, Springer;Accademia Italiana di Economia Aziendale (AIDEA), vol. 1(1), pages 123-140, March.
- von Hippel, Eric & Tyre, Marcie J., 1995. "How learning by doing is done: problem identification in novel process equipment," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 24(1), pages 1-12, January.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:inm:ormnsc:v:44:y:1998:i:5:p:629-644. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Mirko Janc)
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.