The Business of Systems Integration

By Andrea Prencipe; Andrew Davies et al. | Go to book overview

2 Inventing Systems Integration

Harvey M. Sapolsky

Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, USA


2.1 Introduction

The United States's world position changed dramatically during the twentieth century from that of being a large industrial power absorbed by its own vastness and rapid internal growth to that of being the world's dominant economic and military power, although unaware yet of the limits of its global writ. This new status not necessarily fully understood or even sought by its citizens, required significant changes in the scale and role of government in American society. Most important among these for US global dominance has been the role its armed services came to play in the development of technology. In turn, the American military has been and continues to be transformed by technology.

The United States was a late entrant in both of the World Wars that marked the first half of the twentieth century. Nevertheless, its unmatched ability to generate and project great military power in a relatively short time proved decisive in these conflicts, which were fought primarily far from American shores. Its army was built on a militia base called to national service for the war and filled out by conscription (Flynn 1993). The equipment needed to arm, train, and transport large expeditionary forces was produced rapidly via a mobilization effort that surpassed the output of all other participants (Harrison 2000 : 103). 1 The feat was a largely industrial one, with government allocating private industry the resources to produce vast quantities of weapons from pre-selected designs, often borrowed from allies (Holley 1983). Although there was a parallel mobilization of scientists and engineers that had more than an occasional spectacular success—the atomic bomb, for example—the wars were won on the assembly lines producing divisions, aircraft, and ships.

A series of confrontations with the Soviet Union over the future of a war-devastated Europe and Asia led to the reconstruction, in the early 1950s, of American military power which had been mostly demobilized after the Second World War. The resulting conflict evolved into a long-term ideological struggle that required a continuous if less than full-scale societal mobilization and a military strategy that would offset the large manpower

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The Business of Systems Integration
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • The Business of Systems Integration iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface ix
  • Acknowledgments xi
  • Notes on Contributors xiii
  • List of Figures xix
  • List of Tables xxi
  • References 12
  • Part I the History of Systems Integration 14
  • 2 Inventing Systems Integration 15
  • References 32
  • 3 Systems Integration and the Social Solution of Technical Problems in Complex Systems 35
  • References 54
  • 4 Integrating Electrical Power Systems 56
  • Acknowledgements 74
  • 5 Specialization and Systems Integration 78
  • References 89
  • Part II Theoretical and Conceptual Perspectives on Systems Integration 93
  • References 110
  • 7 Corporate Strategy and Systems Integration Capabilities 114
  • References 130
  • 8 The Role of Technical Standards in Coordinating the Division of Labour in Complex System Industries 133
  • References 150
  • 9 The Cognitive Basis of Systems Integration 152
  • References 171
  • 10 Towards a Dynamics of Modularity 174
  • References 196
  • Part III Competitive Advantage and Systems Integration 199
  • 11 The Geography of Systems Integration 201
  • References 226
  • 12 Modularity and Outsourcing 229
  • Acknowledgement 251
  • Acknowledgement 275
  • References 276
  • 14 Systems Integration in the Us Defence Industry 279
  • Acknowledgement 302
  • References 304
  • 15 Changing Boundaries of Innovation Systems 307
  • References 330
  • 16 Integrated Solutions 333
  • Acknowledgement 365
  • References 367
  • Index 369
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