Toward a Systematic Framework for Research on Dominant Designs, Technological Innovations, and Industrial Change

45 Pages Posted: 8 Jun 2005 Last revised: 21 Feb 2015

See all articles by Johann Peter Murmann

Johann Peter Murmann

UNSW Australia Business School - AGSM

Koen Frenken

University of Utrecht - Urban and Regional Research Centre Utrecht (URU)

Date Written: January 8, 2005

Abstract

The concept of a dominant design has taken on a quasi-paradigmatic status in analyses of the link between technological and industrial dynamics. A review of the empirical literature reveals a variety of interpretations about some aspects of the phenomenon such as its underlying causal mechanisms and its level of analysis. To stimulate further progress in empirical research on dominant designs, we advocate a standardization of terminology by conceptualizing products as complex artifacts that evolve in the form of a nested hierarchy of technology cycles. Such a nested complex system perspective provides both unambiguous definitions of dominant designs (stable core components that can be stable interfaces) and inclusion of multiple levels of analysis (system, subsystems, components). We introduce the concept of an operational principle and offer a systematic definition of core and peripheral subsystems based on the concept of pleiotropy. We also discuss how the proposed terminological standardization can stimulate cumulative research on dominant designs.

Keywords: Dominant designs, evolution of artifacts, architecture of complex systems, product life cycle

JEL Classification: L1, M1, O3

Suggested Citation

Murmann, Johann Peter and Frenken, Koen, Toward a Systematic Framework for Research on Dominant Designs, Technological Innovations, and Industrial Change (January 8, 2005). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=737063 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.737063

Johann Peter Murmann (Contact Author)

UNSW Australia Business School - AGSM ( email )

UNSW Sydney, NSW 2052
Australia
+61-2-9385-9733 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://professor-murmann.net

Koen Frenken

University of Utrecht - Urban and Regional Research Centre Utrecht (URU) ( email )

Vredenburg 138
Utrecht, 3511 BG
Netherlands

HOME PAGE: http://econ.geo.uu.nl/frenken/frenken.html

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