The Many Moods of Inter-Organizational Imitation: A Critical Review
24 Pages Posted: 15 Nov 2008
The management literature is paying increasing attention to the phenomenon of imitation. However, there are several gaps in understanding what drives firms imitative behaviors. Furthermore, a fragmented array of disciplinary perspectives has investigated imitation phenomena in the past. This paper reviews the literature on imitation and offers a unifying framework to understand what theory has said about the predictors of imitative behaviors, in terms of purposes, driving forces and target. At the end of the review, two over-arching rationales for imitation seem to emerge: risk reduction and search for effectiveness. Next, the review distinguishes between what drives the general propensity for imitation of a firm and what makes a specific decision more likely to be imitated by the same firm. Implications and indications for future research are offered in the final section.
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