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Modularity: the foundations of an architect firm? (In French)


  • Vincent FRIGANT (E3i-IFReDE-GRES)


The rise of the modular production in assembly industries is initially located in its capacity to manage the increasing complexity of the products. However these implications exceed this technological dimension. Many works advance that the modular production implies a reorganization of the firms and industries more generally. The modularity appears as a technological condition allowing to generate a fundamental reorganization of the firms leading to a managerial revolution: the architect firm. If the first part of this article attempts to clarify the mechanisms which justify the advent of these architect firms, the second is done more critical. First, we stress the internal limits of this mode of organization by clarifying the cognitive problems and the evolution of market power that emerges in modular industries. Second, we ask the question of its generalization. The article shows that the transfer of the architect firm should follow a hybrid way. Three points are discussed: the recognitions of the heterogeneity between industries, the institutional particularities and the heterogeneity between firms.

Suggested Citation

  • Vincent FRIGANT (E3i-IFReDE-GRES), 2004. "Modularity: the foundations of an architect firm? (In French)," Cahiers du GRES (2002-2009) 2004-02, Groupement de Recherches Economiques et Sociales.
  • Handle: RePEc:grs:wpegrs:2004-02

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Langlois, Richard N., 2002. "Modularity in technology and organization," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 49(1), pages 19-37, September.
    2. Vincent Frigant, 2002. "Geographical proximity and supplying relationships in modular production," International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 26(4), pages 742-755, December.
    3. 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.
    4. Richard N. Langlois, 2003. "The vanishing hand: the changing dynamics of industrial capitalism," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 12(2), pages 351-385, April.
    5. Vincent FRIGANT (GRES-E3i) & Damein TALBOT (Université de Metz), 2002. "Convergence and diversity of the adoption of modular production in aircraft and automobile industries in Europe (In French)," Working Papers 2002-6, Equipe Industries Innovation Institutions, Université Bordeaux IV, France.
    6. 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.
    7. Anders Larsson, 2002. "The development and regional significance of the automotive industry: supplier parks in western Europe," International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 26(4), pages 767-784, December.
    8. Ulrich Jürgens & Yannick Lung & G. Volpato & Vincent Frigant, 2002. "The Arrival of Shareholder Value in the European Car Industry A Case Study Comparison of Four Car Makers," Post-Print hal-00204249, HAL.
    9. Vincent Frigant & Damien Talbot, 2003. "Convergence et diversité du passage à la production modulaire dans l'aéronautique et l'automobile en Europe," Post-Print hal-00246171, HAL.
    10. 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.
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    Cited by:

    1. Marie Coris & Yannick Lung, 2005. "Les communautés virtuelles : la coordination sans proximité ? Les fondements de la coopération au sein des communautés du logiciel libre," Revue d'économie régionale et urbaine, Armand Colin, vol. 0(3), pages 397-420.
    2. Frédéric MAZAUD (LEREPS-GRES) & Marie LAGASSE (AIRBUS-FRANCE), 2007. "Vertical sub-contracting relationships strategy, the Airbus First-tier suppliers\' coordination," Cahiers du GRES (2002-2009) 2007-02, Groupement de Recherches Economiques et Sociales.
    3. Vincent FRIGANT (E3i, IFReDE-GRES), 2004. "The globalization of the automotive First Tier Suppliers: an empirical study (In French)," Cahiers du GRES (2002-2009) 2004-16, Groupement de Recherches Economiques et Sociales.
    4. Amel Attour & Alain Rallet, 2014. "Le rôle des territoires dans le développement des systèmes trans-sectoriels d'innovation locaux : le cas des smart cities," Innovations, De Boeck Université, vol. 0(1), pages 253-279.
    5. Florent Catel & Jean-Charles Monateri, 2005. "Strategic perspectives on modularity," Post-Print halshs-00097733, HAL.

    More about this item


    Modular Production; Dominant Design; Industrial Organization; Firm; Vanishing Hand;

    JEL classification:

    • D21 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Firm Behavior: Theory
    • L22 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Firm Organization and Market Structure
    • L23 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Organization of Production
    • O33 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes

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