This paper investigates the decisions that companies make when choosing the source of their manufacturing technology. It builds on previous research that has identified differences between the practices of US and Japanese manufacturing companies. A structured study of manufacturing technology sourcing practices at 14 US-based manufacturing companies is described. This research has confirmed that there is a trend in the companies studied to acquire manufacturing technology from sources external to their organisations. However, no formal processes are used to form these policies. When a rationale for this behaviour was sought, companies gave a series of reasons concerned with business focus, efficiency of technology acquisition, and the extent, defence and support of manufacturing capabilities.