Imperial College London


Faculty of EngineeringDepartment of Civil and Environmental Engineering

Laing O'Rourke/RAEng Chair in Systems Integration



+44 (0)20 7594 9245j.whyte Website




Mr Tim Gordon +44 (0)20 7594 5031




436Skempton BuildingSouth Kensington Campus






BibTex format

author = {Tee, R and Davies, A and Whyte, JK},
doi = {10.1016/j.respol.2018.07.017},
journal = {Research Policy},
pages = {51--61},
title = {Modular designs and integrating practices: managing collaboration through coordination and cooperation},
url = {},
volume = {48},
year = {2019}

RIS format (EndNote, RefMan)

AB - Collaboration in large-scale projects introduces challenges involving both coordination (the ability to collaborate) as well as cooperation (the willingness to do so). Existing research has shown how modular designs can improve coordination by locating interdependencies within rather than between different modules. Based on an in-depth case study of collaboration in a large-scale infrastructure project, our study highlights an effect of modularity on collaboration that previously has been overlooked. Specifically, we show that while modular designs may help overcome coordination challenges by reducing interdependencies between modules, they can in turn hamper collaboration by emphasizing specialization within modules. Therefore, though existing work typically perceives modularity and integration as opposites, we clarify how they can also act as complements. In particular, we show how firms need to complement modular designs with integrating practices that stimulate cooperation. Overall, we contribute to the literature on collaboration and modularity by explaining when and how organizations can combine modularity and integration.
AU - Tee,R
AU - Davies,A
AU - Whyte,JK
DO - 10.1016/j.respol.2018.07.017
EP - 61
PY - 2019///
SN - 0048-7333
SP - 51
TI - Modular designs and integrating practices: managing collaboration through coordination and cooperation
T2 - Research Policy
UR -
UR -
VL - 48
ER -