External Learning Opportunities and the Diffusion of Process Innovations to Small Firms: The Case of Programmable Automation

  • Maryellen R. Kelley
  • Harvey Brooks


In this chapter, we are concerned with explaining which types of firms have failed to adopt well-known improvements in process technology. This problem has, of course, been the underlying concern of all studies of diffusion “to rationalize why, if a new technology is superior, it is not taken up by all potential adopters” (Stoneman, 1983). Drawing on various theoretical perspectives, we identify a number of different barriers to adoption. With data collected from a 1987 nationally representative sample of US establishments in 21 metal-working and machinery manufacturing industries, we then construct a multivariate logistic regression model to empirically test for the effects of these factors on the likelihood of adoption of a particular process innovation, namely programmable automation (PA) machine tools.


Machine Tool Firm Size Small Firm Large Firm Process Innovation 
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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • Maryellen R. Kelley
  • Harvey Brooks

There are no affiliations available

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