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

Tee, Richard (2018) Modular designs and integrating practices: Managing collaboration through coordination and cooperation Research Policy, 48 (1). pp. 51-61.

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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.

Item Type: Article
Divisions : Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences > Surrey Business School
Authors :
Date : 24 July 2018
Funders : UK EPSRC
DOI : doi.10.1016/j.respol.2018.07.017
Copyright Disclaimer : © 2018 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Uncontrolled Keywords : Collaboration;Modularity; Integration; Coordination; Cooperation; Complex product systems
Depositing User : James Marshall
Date Deposited : 17 Feb 2020 15:42
Last Modified : 24 Mar 2020 13:20

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