The starting point of this chapter is common to many people working in the field of industrial economics. Most observers agree on the two following basic propositions:

1 as a response to decreasing productivity gains and the new structural instability of the market, the present moment is marked by a set of interrelated organizational and technological innovations at the level of the firm, and

2 this set of innovations has given rise to a new technological trajectory, where the search for more flexible arrangements is the key distinctive feature; along with this new trajectory new principles of economic efficiency are emerging and spreading throughout the whole economy.