The role of knowledge bases in complex product systems: some empirical evidence from the aero engine industry.

Paoli, Massimo and Prencipe, Andrea (1999) The role of knowledge bases in complex product systems: some empirical evidence from the aero engine industry. Journal of Management and Governance, 3. pp. 137-160. ISSN 1385-3457

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Abstract

In this paper we argue that the virtual corporation as understood in current management
literature does not hold as a universal model throughout various industrial sectors. Complex product
systems industries show peculiar features in terms of product characteristics, innovation dynamics
and strategic and management options that may render the virtual corporation model inapplicable.
The paper begins with a contrast between the simplistic neoclassical approach to the interpretation of the concept of knowledge and the more in-depth evolutionary view. The former understands
knowledge as information and its production process and outcomes as easily decomposable. Based
on this, advocates of virtual corporation claim the viability of outsourcing strategies based on simple
economic factors. The evolutionary approach, on the other hand, considers knowledge as a system
of processes deeply rooted in their contexts of production. Tacitness and non-decomposability of the
knowledge production processes are highly emphasised in this view. In the light of this contrast and
relying on a study of the aero engine industry we reinterpret the notion of virtual corporation showing
its limits.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Business, Management and Economics > SPRU - Science Policy Research Unit
Depositing User: Andrea Prencipe
Date Deposited: 06 Feb 2012 20:52
Last Modified: 30 Jul 2013 12:51
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/28513
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