Product Architecture as a Coordination System

Author Name OKUNO Masahiro  (Faculty Fellow, RIETI / Professor, Faculty of Economics, The University of Tokyo) /WATANABE Yasunori  (Specially Appointed Researcher, Manufacturing Management Research Center, The University of Tokyo)
Creation Date/NO. February 2006 06-J-007
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Baldwin and Clark (2000) brought the substantial attention to the concept of product architecture. This concept, particularly the concept of module architecture, defines a product system as a "coordination system," taking the viewpoint that a product system is an object that is used by human users or developed by human developers. In this paper, product architecture is defined as a design concept for a product system that calls for complex part-to-part coordination in order to fulfill the user's objectives, whereby we seek to show that module architecture can clarify (1) the functions of a product, and (2) the relationship between users' commands and corresponding product actions. By doing so, it becomes possible for human users or developers, whose actions and behaviors are instinctively "context dependent," to operate and use highly complex systems as well as to design and develop new systems by seeking an appropriate combination of division of labor and collaboration between human beings and product systems.