Keywords: knowledge, barriers to imitation, information sources, second mover advantages
Competitive strategy in technological knowledge imitation
Technological knowledge imitation is increasingly becoming a competitive behaviour, which allows firms to be at the cutting edge of technological development. Despite the growth of external knowledge acquisition as part of competitive intelligence efforts, technological imitators have to face up to the difficulties built up by innovators in order to protect their competitive knowledge. To overcome imitation barriers, firms need to have a correct understanding of the technological knowledge sources and the potential advantages that arise from imitation. In this paper, we provide a theoretical analysis of external knowledge sources for imitation, of the problems and characteristics needed to overcome imitation barriers and of the advantages gained by imitators when they acquire knowledge, which is externally developed.