Retaining architectural knowledge within automotive design chains

Publication Type:

Journal Article


International Journal of Automotive Technology and Management, Volume 1, Number 2-3, p.217-235 (2001)



This paper presents a preliminary discussion of the factors, which impact upon architectural innovation, and the retention of architectural knowledge within design chains. Contrary to previous discussions on architectural innovation, it is our belief that an organization’s architectural knowledge is tacit and processes of architectural innovation owe as much through shifts in social processes as they do due to technological innovations. Using the automotive industry as our prime example, we build upon our own exploratory research, and explore the need for the ‘make or buy’ decision to consider knowledge assets. We conclude that the outsourcing and design and development of modular assemblies carry with them inherent risks related to the loss of architectural or systemic knowledge and ultimately a loss of power and control over the final product. © 2001 Inderscience Enterprises Ltd.

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