Managing complex modular product architectures: value creation through innovation in the automative industry

Type de publication:

Conference Paper


Gerpisa colloquium, Berlin (2010)


In order to become true innovators, organisations have to be able to create, develop and deploy methods where innovations can be incorporated to create value and knowledge. The dynamics of value and knowledge creation in the management of innovative technological developments has contemplated the use of the theory of modularity, a tool considered to effectively manage product complexity. However, it is argued that modular architectures involve the gradual transference of core competences and capabilities to key suppliers. These conflicting views provide the assumptions on which this research is based: increased complex technology is causing product architects to lose their core technological capabilities and their capacity to integrate within a context of high-technological turbulence, with specialized suppliers leading the development of new technologies embedded in new product architectures. To test these assumptions a series of case studies in the automotive industry were developed. The findings show evidence that modular architectures in a regime of high-complexity and high-technological turbulence create a continuous degradation of the competence base of product architects. However, the organizational dynamics of the industry have the potential to play a key role in maintaining the roles of industry actors. Keywords: innovation, value creation, modularity, automotive industry

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