IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Unpacking the Black Box of Modularity: Technologies, Products and Organizations


  • Brusoni, Stefano
  • Prencipe, Andrea


This paper explores the issues of knowledge and organizational coordination that stem from the adoption of modular product architectures. Modularity is a common characteristic of the products we have studied: aircraft engines and chemical plants. In contrast to much current research on product and organizational design, we argue that knowledge and organizational coordination cannot be achieved by relying only on automatic mechanisms enabled by the modular product architectures. Rather, the achievement of knowledge and organizational coordination demands interactive management of the actors and activities involved. This coordination role is played by companies that we define as "systems integrators". We contend that achieving knowledge coordination demands that systems integrators be able to span capabilities over a range of technological fields that is wider than the range of activities that they actually perform in-house. Copyright 2001 by Oxford University Press.

Suggested Citation

  • Brusoni, Stefano & Prencipe, Andrea, 2001. "Unpacking the Black Box of Modularity: Technologies, Products and Organizations," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 10(1), pages 179-205, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:indcch:v:10:y:2001:i:1:p:179-205

    Download full text from publisher

    To our knowledge, this item is not available for download. To find whether it is available, there are three options:
    1. Check below whether another version of this item is available online.
    2. Check on the provider's web page whether it is in fact available.
    3. Perform a search for a similarly titled item that would be available.

    More about this item


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:oup:indcch:v:10:y:2001:i:1:p:179-205. 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: (Oxford University Press) or (Christopher F. Baum). General contact details of provider: .

    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.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using 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 RePEc Author Service 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.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.