embody (although not necessarily the number of intermediate inputs they directly manufacture).
In summary, our conjecture, based primarily on CoPS, has much broader implications. It implies that the tendencies toward vertical disintegration and 'Smithian' specialization (a secular feature of modern economies) do not correspond to any general trend towards symmetric in the patterns division of knowledge across firms. On the contrary, the more dispersed is the production of knowledge and the more complex are products, the higher also are the requirements of explicit integrative capabilities embodied in systems integrators. In many ways, these firms represent the enduring visible hand of purposeful organizations, which painstakingly and imperfectly try to master through time the expanding combinations of product components and knowledge, as well as the diverse learning trajectories of 'Smithian' suppliers.
Arora, A., Fosfuri, A., and Gambardella, A. (2001). Markets for Technologies. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Brusoni, S. (2001). 'The Division of Labour and the Division of Knowledge: The Organisation of Engineering Design in the Chemical Industry', Unpublished PhD Thesis, Brighton: SPRU, University of Sussex.
—— and Prencipe, A. (2001). 'Unpacking the Black Box of Modularity: Technologies, Products, Organizations', Industrial and Corporate Change, 10: 179-205.
——, ——, and Pavitt, K. (2001). 'Knowledge Specialization and the Boundaries of the Firm: Why Firms Know More Than They Make', Administrative Science Quarterly, 46: 597-621.
Chandler, A. D. (1977). The Visible Hand: The Managerial Revolution in American Business. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
—— (1990). Scale and Scope: The Dynamics of Industrial Capitalism. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Chadran, A., Chua, G., and Kabanovsky, A. (1997). 'Transforming Technical Support', Public Network Europe, 7/5: 31-3.
Coase, R. M. (1937). 'The Nature of the Firm', Economica, 4: 386-405.
Cohen, M. D., Burkhart, R., Dosi, G., Egidi, M., Marengo, L., Warglien, M., Winter, S., and Coriat, B. (1996). 'Routines and Other Recurring Action