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

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Harvard Business Press, 2010 - Business & Economics - 241 pages
In the business world, imitation gets a bad rap. We see imitating firms as ?me too? players, forced to copy because they have nothing original to offer. We pity their fate: a life of picking up crumbs discarded by innovators striding a path paved with fame and profit.

In Copycats, Oded Shenkar challenges this viewpoint. He reveals how imitation'the exact or broad-brushed copying of an innovation'is as critical to prosperity as innovation.

Shenkar shows how savvy imitators generate huge profits. They save not only on R&D costs but also on marketing and advertising investments made by first movers. And they avoid costly errors by observing and learning from others? trials.

Copycats presents suggestions for making imitation a core element in your competitive strategy and pairing it powerfully with innovation, including:

· How to select the right model to imitate

· How to avoid oversimplification of a model

· Which imitation strategy to use

· How to prepare and execute an implementation plan

Engaging, practical, and rich in company examples, Copycats unveils how to add imitation to your competitive arsenal.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - rivkat - LibraryThing

This slight business book shares the defects of its genre—buzzwords and superficial analogies to examples from biology (mirror neurons!) more than concrete lessons. Sample takeaway: “The imitation ... Read full review

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Oded Shenkar, a professor who teaches global business management, offers a basic, far-reaching, somewhat surprising proposition: Imitation is faster, cheaper, easier to implement, less risky and more profitable than innovation ¬– and you can imitate legally and profitably. Still, most firms kowtow to the mythical power of innovation, striving to invent the next big thing. What if all that struggle is a waste of resources? What if it makes more sense to spend your firm’s money, time and energy studying other companies’ goods, services and markets, and then selecting targets to imitate? What if you can use creative copying to achieve more profit for less effort? Shenkar lays out the benefits and pitfalls of this approach with clarity and only a soupçon of academic theorizing. Unlike most business authors, he saves the best for last, and the book’s final quarter offers revelatory reading and sound strategy. getAbstract recommends this book to those looking to maximize effort, insight and profit. Read this today, before some aggressive entrepreneur takes Shenkar’s lessons to heart and publishes a knockoff.
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About the author (2010)

Oded Shenkar is the Ford Motor Company Chair in Global Business Management and Professor of Management at the Fisher College of Business, The Ohio State University, where he heads the international business area. A top scholar in international strategy, he is also a prolific author, and his work has been cited in numerous publications, including the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, and The Economist.

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