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Toward a General Modular Systems Theory and Its Application to Interfirm Product Modularity

Melissa A. Schilling
The Academy of Management Review
Vol. 25, No. 2 (Apr., 2000), pp. 312-334
Published by: Academy of Management
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/259016
Page Count: 23
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Toward a General Modular Systems Theory and Its Application to Interfirm Product Modularity
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Abstract

Many systems migrate toward increasing or decreasing modularity, yet no explicit causal models exist to explain this process. In this article I build a general theory of modular systems, drawing on systems research from many disciplines, and then use this general theory to derive a model of interfirm product modularity, including testable research propositions. The product model provides a valuable tool for predicting technological trajectories, and it demonstrates how the general theory can be applied to specific systems.

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