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learning curvethe cumulative process whereby, as the managers and labour force of a firm gain greater experience of a new technology by repetitive contact, they become more efficient at operating it, which enables unit costs of production to be reduced. Additionally familiarity with a technology and the development of associated skills and expertise can provide a platform for further technological advances. Thus, a firm's unique embodied experience can enable it to establish COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGES over rival suppliers.
Experience curve theory states that every time the same task is carried out, then the time taken to complete the task falls by some fixed amount. Thus if a task takes an hour to complete the first time, it will take some proportion less to complete the second time and a similar reduction will take place the fourth time, eighth time and so on, until a stable task time is achieved. Tasks are evaluated on their complexity, the more complex, the lower will be the rate of time reduction. See SPECIALIZATION, PRODUCTIVITY.