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projet de recherche
Co-‐Evolution of Capability and Architecture －A Comparative Study of European and East Asian Manufacturing Industries
The purpose of this international research project is to explore the dynamic interaction of capability building and architectural changes in the global manufacturing industries based on the evolutionary theories of social sciences (Nelson and Winter 1982, Hodgeson 1999, Fujimoto 1999). Geographically, the project focuses mostly on EU countries (e.g., France, Germany, UK) and East Asian Counties (e.g., Japan, China, Korea), but we may expand the research field to the US and other areas when necessary. Industrially, our main focus is the automobile industry, but we will also investigate other machinery industries and process industries.
International capability-building competition has been intensified since the 1980s in manufacturing industries of tradable goods such as automobile, consumer electronics, machine tools, steel and so on (Abernathy et. al 1983; Womack et al. 1990; Clark and Fujimoto 1991; Boyer and Freyssenet 1995; Humphrey, et al. 2000.). Productivity, quality and lead time were the main indicators of productive performance for which firms and factories continued capability-building competition.
More recently, since the 1990s, changes of product architectures started to influence industrial competitiveness (Ulrich 1995, Langlois and Robertson 1992, Christensen 1997, Gawer and Cusumano 2002; Baldwin and Clark 2000). Rapid architectural changes from closed/integral types to open/modular types resulted in drastic increase or decrease of competitiveness of firms (e.g., IBM, Intel, Microsoft, Qualcom, Apple, Samsung, TSMC) and industries (e.g., collapse of Japanese TV industry). Emerging countries like China and Korea tended to enhance competitiveness in industries with open-modular architecture during this period.
And yet, most of existing researches tended to treat evolution of capabilities and evolution of architectures separately, deemphasizing the dynamic interactions between the two aspects of industrial evolution. Researches on capability building tended to assume that the product's architecture is stable (Fujimoto 1999), whereas researches on architectural changes tended to ignore the possibility that their impacts on industrial competitiveness may be different between the firms or factories of different types of capabilities.
Against this background, the present project will try to integrate the two aspects and argue that the interactions between manufacturing capabilities of the factories and architectures of the products may affect competitiveness of the industries or factories. The research fields of the above study will include Europe and East Asia (particularly Japan).