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Copycats: How Smart Companies Use Imitation to Gain a Strategic Edge by Oded Shenkar

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2.

The Science and Art of Imitation

Archeological studies show that in ancient times . . . man was much more imitative of the outside world than we have been led to suppose.

—Gabriel Tarde, 1903

Imitation is a fundamental part of biological and social life. It is a way by which various species learn, make sense, survive, compete, and evolve as they acquire traits and behavior that help them thrive in their respective environments. It is a vital mechanism used by human beings to acquire basic skills such as language, by organizations to learn and compete, by cultures and societies to instill values and norms of behavior, and by nations to keep up with each other. Imitation has underpinned the survival of the human race through the use of tools ...

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