EconPapers    
Economics at your fingertips  
 

Modular designs and integrating practices: Managing collaboration through coordination and cooperation

Richard Tee, Andrew Davies and Jennifer Whyte

Research Policy, 2019, vol. 48, issue 1, 51-61

Abstract: Collaboration in large-scale projects introduces challenges involving both coordination (the ability to collaborate) as well as cooperation (the willingness to do so). Existing research has shown how modular designs can improve coordination by locating interdependencies within rather than between different modules. Based on an in-depth case study of collaboration in a large-scale infrastructure project, our study highlights an effect of modularity on collaboration that previously has been overlooked. Specifically, we show that while modular designs may help overcome coordination challenges by reducing interdependencies between modules, they can in turn hamper collaboration by emphasizing specialization within modules. Therefore, though existing work typically perceives modularity and integration as opposites, we clarify how they can also act as complements. In particular, we show how firms need to complement modular designs with integrating practices that stimulate cooperation. Overall, we contribute to the literature on collaboration and modularity by explaining when and how organizations can combine modularity and integration.

Keywords: Collaboration; Modularity; Integration; Coordination; Cooperation; Complex product systems (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2019
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc
Citations Track citations by RSS feed

Downloads: (external link)
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0048733318301823
Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

Related works:
This item may be available elsewhere in EconPapers: Search for items with the same title.

Export reference: BibTeX RIS (EndNote, ProCite, RefMan) HTML/Text

Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:eee:respol:v:48:y:2019:i:1:p:51-61

Access Statistics for this article

Research Policy is currently edited by M. Bell, B. Martin, W.E. Steinmueller, A. Arora, M. Callon, M. Kenney, S. Kuhlmann, Keun Lee and F. Murray

More articles in Research Policy from Elsevier
Bibliographic data for series maintained by Dana Niculescu ().

 
Page updated 2019-01-19
Handle: RePEc:eee:respol:v:48:y:2019:i:1:p:51-61