Interorganizational imitation heuristics arising from cognitive frames

Ralitza Nikolaeva

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


The literature on organizational imitation mostly disregards its cognitive aspect. Yet, imitation is a cognitive heuristic. The study draws a unifying framework of imitation theories through a cognitive lens in the context of innovation adoptions. The premise is that organizations imitate in order to improve the status quo or to avoid losing it. The interaction of the framing of imitation and the organization's evaluation of an innovation as threats or opportunities results in the use of combinations of the two most popular imitation heuristics - "imitate the successful" and "imitate the majority." Since the framings dictate different imitation timings, the speed of innovation diffusion depends on these interactions. The study contributes to the organizational learning literature by proposing that social learning is subject to interpretations resulting in the use of different imitation heuristics. Its contribution to the decision-making literature is that complex strategic decisions employ imitation heuristics from Gigerenzer's adaptive toolbox.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1758-1765
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Business Research
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2014


  • Frames
  • Imitation heuristics
  • Innovation adoption
  • Managerial cognition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Marketing

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