The central aim of this book has been to examine the dynamics of the competence-building process within firms. The principal argument has been that, in the development of technological competence, firms will view a radically new opportunity offered by a new technology such as optoelectronics from different angles, shaped to a large extent by their differing accumulated technological bases and business interests. Competence building is a painstaking and long process, entailing uncertainty and trial and error and it requires continuous learning. Several factors affect the rate and direction of competence building. Chief among them are the following: previous core business activities and links with main customers; top management strategy and the evolution of the R&D organization; government policy; management of the linkage between systems, key components and component generic technologies; organizational learning; and economies of scope.
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