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Making Design Rules: A Multi-Domain Perspective

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Abstract

This study analyzes the processes whereby organizations develop radical innovations in response to environmental transformations. It explores the changes in organizational structures, practices and business strategies entailed by the implementation of such innovations. From the literature on modularity, we borrow the idea that the evolutionary dynamics of artifacts and organizations are linked by design rules, i.e. a set of principles that allocate functions to components, identify the operating principle of each component and determine the interfaces among modules. Through an in-depth case study of radical innovation in tire manufacturing, we study the joint dynamics of technical and organizational change during the transition from old to new design rules. We argue that technical change and organization adaptation are linked, but that such relationship is mediated and rendered open-ended by the evolution of the underlying bodies of knowledge.

Suggested Citation

  • Andrea Prencipe & Stefano Brusoni, 2005. "Making Design Rules: A Multi-Domain Perspective," SPRU Working Paper Series 136, SPRU - Science and Technology Policy Research, University of Sussex.
  • Handle: RePEc:sru:ssewps:136
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    File URL: http://www.sussex.ac.uk/spru/documents/sewp136.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. 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.
    2. D'Adderio, Luciana, 2001. "Crafting the virtual prototype: how firms integrate knowledge and capabilities across organisational boundaries," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 30(9), pages 1409-1424, December.
    3. 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.
    4. 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.
    5. William Lazonick & Andrea Prencipe, 2005. "Dynamic capabilities and sustained innovation: strategic control and financial commitment at Rolls-Royce plc," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 14(3), pages 501-542, June.
    6. Ulrich, Karl, 1995. "The role of product architecture in the manufacturing firm," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 24(3), pages 419-440, May.
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    Cited by:

    1. Vaccaro, Antonino & Veloso, Francisco & Brusoni, Stefano, 2009. "The impact of virtual technologies on knowledge-based processes: An empirical study," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(8), pages 1278-1287, October.
    2. Gil, Nuno & Tether, Bruce S., 2011. "Project risk management and design flexibility: Analysing a case and conditions of complementarity," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 40(3), pages 415-428, April.
    3. Mario Benassi, 2009. "Investigating modular organizations," Journal of Management & Governance, Springer;Accademia Italiana di Economia Aziendale (AIDEA), vol. 13(3), pages 163-192, August.
    4. Stefano Brusoni & Giorgia Sgalari, 2006. "New combinations in old industries," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 16(1), pages 25-43, April.
    5. Caridi, Maria & Pero, Margherita & Sianesi, Andrea, 2012. "Linking product modularity and innovativeness to supply chain management in the Italian furniture industry," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 136(1), pages 207-217.
    6. Stefano Brusoni & Lorenzo Cassi, 2007. "Re-Inventing the Wheel: Knowledge Integration in Fast-changing Environments," KITeS Working Papers 209, KITeS, Centre for Knowledge, Internationalization and Technology Studies, Universita' Bocconi, Milano, Italy, revised Dec 2007.
    7. Lampel, Joseph & Bhalla, Ajay, 2011. "Living with offshoring: The impact of offshoring on the evolution of organizational configurations," Journal of World Business, Elsevier, vol. 46(3), pages 346-358, July.
    8. Alexander Peine, 2008. "Challenging incommensurability – What we can learn from Ludwik Fleck for the analysis of complex technical systems," Innovation Studies Utrecht (ISU) working paper series 08-21, Utrecht University, Department of Innovation Studies, revised Oct 2008.
    9. Antonino Vaccaro & Stefano Brusoni & Francisco Veloso, 2007. "The Role of Virtual Design Tools on Knowledge Replication and Recombination: An Empirical Investigation," KITeS Working Papers 198, KITeS, Centre for Knowledge, Internationalization and Technology Studies, Universita' Bocconi, Milano, Italy, revised Feb 2007.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    organizational change; innovation; technological change; modularity; tire manufacturing;

    JEL classification:

    • O33 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes
    • L20 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - General
    • L62 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Manufacturing - - - Automobiles; Other Transportation Equipment; Related Parts and Equipment

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