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Organizational Imprinting: Informing Firm Behavior In Domestic And International Contexts

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Executive Summary

The authors argue that organizational imprinting theory provides an important causal mechanism and originating source for numerous behaviors which are applicable to several research literatures. The authors briefly explain the imprinting process, how the imprinting process can be informed by other theories, and how imprinting may be better utilized than some frameworks such as inertia or social embeddedness to understand the initiation of firm behavior. The authors follow with examples from organizational behavior, organizational change and learning, entrepreneurship, and mergers & acquisitions where imprinting theory could be used to explain observed behaviors along with potential avenues and ideas for future research in these literature streams. The paper ends with suggestions for research in different international contexts since the imprint mechanism and effect may be more pronounced in such conditions.

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