O'Reilly logo

Managing In The Modular Age: Architectures, Networks, and Organizations by Richard N. Langlois, Arun Kumaraswamy, Raghu Garud

Stay ahead with the world's most comprehensive technology and business learning platform.

With Safari, you learn the way you learn best. Get unlimited access to videos, live online training, learning paths, books, tutorials, and more.

Start Free Trial

No credit card required

Chapter 6. TOWARD A GENERAL MODULAR SYSTEMS THEORY AND ITS APPLICATION TO INTERFIRM PRODUCT MODULARITY

Melissa A. Schilling

Modularity is a general systems concept: it is a continuum describing the degree to which a system's components can be separated and recombined, and it refers both to the tightness of coupling between components and the degree to which the "rules" of the system architecture enable (or prohibit) the mixing and matching of components. Since all systems are characterized by some degree of coupling (whether loose or tight) between components, and very few systems have components that are completely inseparable and cannot be recombined, almost all systems are, to some degree, modular.

Many systems migrate toward increasing modularity. Systems that were originally tightly integrated may be disaggregated into loosely coupled components that may be mixed and matched, allowing much greater flexibility in end configurations. For instance, personal computers originally were introduced as all-in-one packages (such as Intel's MCS-4, the Kenback-1, the Apple II, or the Commodore PET) but rapidly evolved into modular systems enabling the mixing and matching of components from different vendors. Publishers also have embraced modularity by utilizing recent information technology advances to enable instructors to assemble their own textbooks from book chapters, articles, cases, or their own materials. Even large home-appliance manufacturers now offer their products in modular ...

With Safari, you learn the way you learn best. Get unlimited access to videos, live online training, learning paths, books, interactive tutorials, and more.

Start Free Trial

No credit card required