Pioneer or imitate? An analysis of business imitations

  • Published November 10, 2016
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    Volume 14 2016, Issue #3 (cont. 3), pp. 691-697

Pioneering is meant to create a competitive advantage for businesses and yet imitations are accelerating globally, leaving businesses not knowing whether to pioneer or imitate. The purpose of this study was to make an analysis of the benefits and costs of pioneering and imitation, with the aim of possibly helping businesses to decide on which route to take, after considering their strengths and weaknesses. This was a desk research study which analyzed literature on business imitation and pioneering. It focused on imitation driven by technology; be it in products or services with a bias towards legal innovative imitation. The analysis was primarily dominated by literature obtained from developed countries because of the rich pool of research output on both concepts. Based on the findings, the paper concludes that most businesses are innovative imitations and technology has facilitated most of these imitations. Recommendations are that businesses should adopt innovative imitation, but do so legally and ethically. There is also need for more research studies on business imitation in order to come up with strategies that will accommodate global players.

Keywords: pioneers, competitive advantage, innovative imitation, global players, first mover.
JEL Classification: L26, M19

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