A Contingency Perspective on Imitation Strategies: When Is 'Benchmarking' Ineffective?

Posen, HE, Yi, S, Lee, J. 2020. A contingency perspective on imitation strategies: When is “benchmarking” ineffective. Strategic Management Journal 41(2): 198-221.

40 Pages Posted: 9 Apr 2020

See all articles by Hart E. Posen

Hart E. Posen

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Sangyoon Yi

University of Southern Denmark - Department of Marketing & Management - Strategic Organization Design (SOD) Group; Graduate School of Future Strategy

Jeho Lee

Seoul National University

Date Written: October 30, 2019

Abstract

Imitation is ubiquitous, yet the comparative efficacy of imitation strategies is poorly understood. A popular imitation strategy, sometimes called benchmarking, “mixes-and-matches” the practices common to leading firms. Using computational models, we compare benchmarking to the “copy-the-best” imitation strategy of copying a subset of the best-performing firm’s practices. We find benchmarking is more effective in heterogeneous environments, where practices that are good for firms in one group (e.g., geographic submarket) may be bad for firms in another. Firms using mix-and-match tend to imitate practices of rivals within their group, less likely copying inappropriate practices from other groups. In homogeneous environments, however, the “copy-the-best” strategy is superior because firms are more likely to go beyond their group and copy novel good practices from rivals in other groups.

Suggested Citation

Posen, Hart E. and Yi, Sangyoon and Lee, Jeho, A Contingency Perspective on Imitation Strategies: When Is 'Benchmarking' Ineffective? (October 30, 2019). Posen, HE, Yi, S, Lee, J. 2020. A contingency perspective on imitation strategies: When is “benchmarking” ineffective. Strategic Management Journal 41(2): 198-221., Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3554460

Hart E. Posen (Contact Author)

University of Wisconsin-Madison ( email )

Madison, WI
United States

HOME PAGE: http://https://wsb.wisc.edu/directory/faculty/hart-posen

Sangyoon Yi

University of Southern Denmark - Department of Marketing & Management - Strategic Organization Design (SOD) Group ( email )

Campusvej 55
DK-5230 Odense, 5000
Denmark

HOME PAGE: http://www.sod-research.com/sangyoon-yi

Graduate School of Future Strategy ( email )

373-1 Kusong-dong
Yuson-gu
Taejon 305-701, 130-722
Korea, Republic of (South Korea)

Jeho Lee

Seoul National University ( email )

Kwanak-gu
Seoul, 151-742
Korea, Republic of (South Korea)
82-2-880-2650 (Phone)
82-2-878-3154 (Fax)

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Downloads
23
Abstract Views
187
PlumX Metrics