Mirroring or Misting: A Contingent Perspective

Nicholas Burton, Peter Galvin

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review

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At its heart, the mirroring hypothesis seeks to examine the extent of an architectural mapping between firms’ strategic choices of product architecture and firm architecture – within-firm mirroring - and between firms’ architectural choices and industry structures – across-firm mirroring. In a recent literature review, Colfer & Baldwin (2010) found broad support but notable exceptions, leading to calls for a more nuanced view. Some initial work has occurred primarily in the air-conditioning and motor vehicle industries. Furlan, Cabiguso & Camuffo (2014) examine the across-firm mirroring hypothesis in the air-conditioning industry, and find that the ‘mirror’ becomes misted by high rates of component change, and in a study of the motor vehicle industry, Zirpoli, Cabigiuso & Camuffo (2013) suggest that the mirroring hypothesis may become misted as firms seek to integrate external sources of innovation into complex product development. Most importantly, we recognise that the mirroring hypothesis may be observed at numerous levels e.g. product to firm, component to task boundaries, task to knowledge boundaries and knowledge to firm boundaries. The rate of component change and the degree of complexity as two previously identified conditions under which the mirror may become misted will impact different potential mirroring relationships in different ways. In essence, we show how factors at both the product architecture and the underlying product component level may influence the degree of mirroring and misting, thereby potentially going some of the way to understanding why Colfer and Baldwin (2010) observed inconsistent results.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 8 Sept 2016
EventBAM 2016 - British Academy of Management Conference - Newcastle-upon-Tyne, UK
Duration: 8 Sept 2016 → …


ConferenceBAM 2016 - British Academy of Management Conference
Period8/09/16 → …
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