Why do firms imitate each other?

Marvin B. Lieberman*, Shigeru Asaba

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

651 Citations (Scopus)


Scholars from diverse disciplines have proposed numerous theories of business imitation. We organize these theories into two broad categories: (1) information-based theories, where firms follow others that are perceived as having superior information, and (2) rivalry-based theories, where firms imitate others to maintain competitive parity or limit rivalry. We describe conditions under which each type of imitation is most likely and offer guidance on identifying imitation in practice. Amplification effects and other performance implications of imitation are also addressed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)366-385
Number of pages20
JournalAcademy of Management Review
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2006 Apr
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business, Management and Accounting(all)
  • Strategy and Management
  • Management of Technology and Innovation


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