The Value and Costs of Modularity: A Cognitive Perspective
This paper discusses the issue of modularity from a problem-solving perspective. Modularity is in fact a decomposition heuristic, through which a complex problem is decomposed into independent or quasi-independent sub-problems. By means of a model of problem decomposition, this paper studies the trade-offs of modularity: on the one hand finer modules increase the speed of search, but on the other hand they usually determine lock-in into sub-optimal solutions. How effectively to balance this trade-off depends upon the problem environment and its complexity and volatility: we show that in stationary and complex environments there exists an evolutionary advantage to over-modularization, while in highly volatile – though “simple” – en- vironments, contrary to usual wisdom, modular search is inefficient. The empirical relevance of our findings is discussed, especially with reference to the literature on system integration.
|Date of creation:||30 Aug 2004|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: Jubilee Building G08, Falmer, Brighton, BN1 9SL|
Phone: +44 (0)1273 686758
Fax: +44 (0)1273 685865
Web page: http://www.sussex.ac.uk/spru
More information through EDIRC
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.:
- Giovanni Dosi & Daniel Levinthal & Luigi Marengo, 2002. "The Uneasy Organizational Matching Between Distribution of Knowledge, Divisionof Labor and Incentive Governance," LEM Papers Series 2002/26, Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy.
- Marengo, Luigi, et al, 2000.
"The Structure of Problem-Solving Knowledge and the Structure of Organizations,"
Industrial and Corporate Change,
Oxford University Press, vol. 9(4), pages 757-788, December.
- Luigi Marengo & Giovanni Dosi & Paolo Legrenzi & Corrado Pasquali, 1999. "The structure of problem-solving knowledge and the structure of organisations," LEM Papers Series 1999/09, Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy.
- Marengo, Luigi & Dosi, Giovanni, 2005. "Division of labor, organizational coordination and market mechanisms in collective problem-solving," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 58(2), pages 303-326, October.
- Luigi Marengo & Giovanni Dosi, 2003. "Division of Labor, Organizational Coordination and Market Mechanism in Collective Problem-Solving," LEM Papers Series 2003/04, Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy.
- Carliss Y. Baldwin & Kim B. Clark, 2000. "Design Rules, Volume 1: The Power of Modularity," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262024667, September.
- 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.
- 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.
- Herbert A. Simon, 1996. "The Sciences of the Artificial, 3rd Edition," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262691914, September. Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:sru:ssewps:123. 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: (Russell Eke)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.