The Business of Systems Integration

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

5 Specialization and Systems Integration

Where Manufacture and Services Still Meet *

Keith Pavitt

SPRU: Science and Technology Policy Research, University of Sussex, Brighton, UK


5.1 Introduction

In this chapter, I shall speculate about the future development of firms' activities in systems integration. 1 I shall do this by exploring the long-term changes in industrial organization that are likely to emerge as a consequence of present trends in technical change. A certain humility is required in such an exercise, given the many failed attempts over the past 20 years to foresee the consequences of what is now called the information and communication technology (ICT) revolution, the nature and implications of which have often turned out differently from what had been expected earlier.

My main assumption is that two long-term and related trends have underpinned the processes and organization of technical change since the industrial revolution. The first—clearly identified by Adam Smith—is the continuous increase in specialization in both the production of artefacts, and in the production of knowledge on which they are based. The second is the appearance of periodic waves of major innovations based on rapid changes in specific technologies. It is in the context of these two trends that the effects on industrial practice and on organization of the latest of the periodic radical changes in technology (ICT) can best be judged.

These technical changes are of course embedded in wider processes of economic, social, and political change, which they both help to create and to which they respond. These processes include the search for profit in a world of competition, increasing wages, changing tastes, urbanization, the progressive destruction of distance, uneven development across regions and countries, and changing methods of corporate governance and regulation. But, as Rosenberg (1974) and others have demonstrated,

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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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