Modularity, robustness, and change propagation: a multifaceted relation

S. A. Piccolo, S. Lehmann, A. M. Maier

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
24 Downloads (Pure)


Increased system robustness is one of the promises of modularity. However, research on the topic has provided conflicting findings. By generating more than 2000 system architectures, this paper shows that the relation between modularity and robustness is multifaceted: Modularity decreases topological robustness, increases robustness to change propagation, and provides economic benefits. Results here confirm the importance of modularity, enable reconciliation of opposing findings from prior research, and guides researchers and practitioners in the selection of appropriate robustness measures.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2335-2344
Number of pages10
JournalProceedings of the Design Society Conference
Early online date11 Jun 2020
Publication statusPublished - 29 Oct 2020
Event16th International Design Conference 2020 - Cavtat, Croatia
Duration: 26 Oct 202029 Oct 2020


  • modularity
  • robustness
  • complex systems
  • network approaches
  • design structure matrix (DSM)


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