IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/uct/uconnp/2007-07.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Organizing the Electronic Century

Author

Listed:
  • Richard N. Langlois

    (University of Connecticut)

Abstract

This paper's title is an echo of Alfred Chandler's (2001) chronicle of the electronics industry, Inventing the Electronic Century. The paper attempts (A) a general reinterpretation of the pattern of technological advance in (American) electronics over the twentieth century and (B) a somewhat revisionist account of the role of organization and institution in that advance. The paper stresses the complex effects of product architecture and intellectual property regime on industrial organization and technological change. Whereas large research-oriented multi-divisional firms always played a crucial role in the industry's history, such firms proved most adept at systemic innovation, as in the case of television. But, as in the cases of early radio and of the IBM 360 mainframe computer, the multi-divisional firm was capable of bottling up within its boundaries (often through intellectual property rights) a relatively modular architecture whose "option value" such firms could not fully exploit. America's adherence to the model of industrial research within the vertically integrated corporation arguably contributed to the demise of American consumer electronics in the 1970s and 1980s. And America's subsequent relative success in semiconductors and personal computers --- and in today's converged digital consumer electronics --- owes much to the specialized and "fragmented" character of American industry, which could take fuller advantage of competitive global value chains and of the option value of modular architectures.

Suggested Citation

  • Richard N. Langlois, 2007. "Organizing the Electronic Century," Working papers 2007-07, University of Connecticut, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:uct:uconnp:2007-07
    Note: Paper for the conference "Has There Been a Third Industrial Revolution in Global Business?" November 16-18, 2006, Bocconi University, Milan.
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://web2.uconn.edu/economics/working/2007-07.pdf
    File Function: Full text
    Download Restriction: no

    Citations

    Blog mentions

    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. Intellectual Steam
      by Dick Langlois in Organizations and Markets on 2010-05-19 23:38:49
    2. Patent Pools and Innovation
      by rlanglois in Organizations and Markets on 2009-02-20 01:55:35

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Langlois, Richard N., 2013. "Business groups and the natural state," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 88(C), pages 14-26.
    2. Batiz-Lazo, Bernardo & Maixe-Altes, J. Carles, 2008. "Organisational change and the computerisation of British and Spanish savings banks, circa 1965-1985," MPRA Paper 14479, University Library of Munich, Germany.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    electronics; modularity; product architecture; vertical integration.;

    JEL classification:

    • L2 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior
    • L63 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Manufacturing - - - Microelectronics; Computers; Communications Equipment
    • N62 - Economic History - - Manufacturing and Construction - - - U.S.; Canada: 1913-
    • O33 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes
    • O34 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Intellectual Property and Intellectual Capital

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    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:uct:uconnp:2007-07. 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: (Mark McConnel). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/deuctus.html .

    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.