One general response by firms to competitive pressures in technologically dynamic economies is the search within an industry and/or its linked industries for alternative or improved best-practice techniques. The extent of the search for new techniques and subsequent patterns of adoption and adaption are dependent on differential and changing intra- and inter-industry innovative activities. Some plants and firms are more successful at incorporating best-practice technology, achieve higher levels of productivity performance, and attain the status of best-practice enterprises. These enterprises may also assume the role of technical leaders and foster further changes and improvements in the technology of the industry. This article examines first the origins of best-practice technology in an industry, and the nature and evolutionary patterns of technical leadership. This is followed by a consideration of the regional growth impacts and development implications of different evolutionary conditions.
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