Inderscience Publishers

Modular architectures, knowledge assets and organisational learning: new management processes for product creation

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This paper considers the impacts of adopting modular product and process architectures on the organisation of product creation processes and on the kinds of organisational learning, which can take place within modular product creation processes. The discussion elaborates the concepts of modular product and process architectures and explains how use of modular product and process architectures influences an organisation's knowledge, in effect creating modular knowledge architectures in an organisation. Effective management of modular knowledge architectures enables greater clarity in identifying an organisation's current knowledge assets and greater precision in targeting strategically useful organisational learning. Adopting modular architectures leads to changes not only in the nature of the technological work performed in an organisation, but also in the kinds of knowledge assets the organisation creates, the way learning occurs at both individual and organisational levels, and the human resource characteristics of the organisation. These changes in turn call for complementary changes in performance assessment metrics, incentive structure designs, the nature of the employment relationship, and the management practices of an organisation, especially with regard to the management of creative processes.

Keywords: knowledge architecture, knowledge management, modularity, organisational learning, process architectures, product architectures, product creation, self-managing processes

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