In many industries, disintegration processes have drastically changed the overall industry structure as well as the organization of value creation processes and actors. Highly integrated production and distribution systems have been replaced by devolved organization architectures. This article introduces the concept of value creation architectures, a term that describes the structure and relationships of all the value-adding activities that are carried out by various actors and companies to bring a particular product or service to market. Analyses of business firms tend to overlook the relationship between competitive advantage and the architecture of value creation. This article investigates how different architectures of value creation affect the competitiveness of individual firms. The new concept is illustrated by an in-depth
case study of the European automobile industry.