Essays on the Role of Modularity in Management

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Essays on the Role of Modularity in Management

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Title: Essays on the Role of Modularity in Management
Towards a Unified Perspective of Modular and Integral Design
Author: Avlonitis, Viktor
Abstract: Through four essays the project explores the role of modularity, that is a general systems property with adaptive and evolutionary implications for organizations, across segments of management studies. With roots in the strategic management of technological innovation, modularity is increasingly adopted across other research sub-fields. The thesis examines modularity at the intersection of service management and digital technology, while also contributing to its overall reconceptualization as a design lens based on three principles. The first essay provides a conceptual framework based on the interdisciplinary field of Service Science and lays a foundation through which to explore intersecting points across management sub-disciplines where modularity has been applied. The second essay draws on service design from marketing and operations literature to construct an analytical framework that is consequently applied on two theoretically sampled organizations operating in the travel industry. The empirical analysis validates the framework and demonstrates the effects of modularity on the management of customer experiences and resource integration. The third essay bridges work on platform architecture and modularity across information systems and strategy literature. Focusing on datadriven services in the maritime sector, the paper contributes with a research agenda for industrial digital platforms, ensuing ecosystems, and the literature on modularity overall. The final essay takes a point of departure from the commonly held assumption that modular and integral systems represent the opposite sides of system architecture. Given the increasingly diverse applications of modularity beyond technology studies, the essay reframes the relationship of modular and integral design. This meta-theoretical conceptualization creates a common frame of reference to support the cross-pollination of insights and guide future theorizing.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10398/9697
Date: 2018-11-28

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