Division of labor and division of knowledge: A case study of innovation in the video game industry

  • Patrick Llerena
  • Thierry Burger-Helmchen
  • Patrick Cohendet


In this work, we present an illustrative case study of the changing nature of governance structure in a small innovative firm. We show that the governance structure co-evolves with the division of knowledge and the division of labor. The presentation is organized as follows: first we define the distinction between division of knowledge and division of labor and highlight some specificities of the knowledge worker. Then, a case study of an innovative SME in the market for video games for mobile phones is presented. This case study allows us to characterize four different governance phases observed over a four year time span. We then link these four governance phases with the evolution of the relation between the firm and different types of communities (communities of practice in which programmers from other firms participate, user communities ...). We show that the evolution of the governance structure has commonalities with the evolution of the relations with the communities and that those relations influence the division of knowledge and division of labor. This analysis provides basic guidance to elaborate an integrated framework to understand the matching between the division of labor/division of knowledge and the modes and mechanism of community governance in a creative industry.


Division of labor Division of knowledge Communities Governance Video game 

JEL Classification

M13 L29 D80 B25 G34 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.BETA – Research Unit n°7522 of the CNRS, University of StrasbourgStrasbourg CedexFrance
  2. 2.HEC MontrealMontrealCanada

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