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Journal Article

Mimetic Processes Within an Interorganizational Field: An Empirical Test

Joseph Galaskiewicz and Stanley Wasserman
Administrative Science Quarterly
Vol. 34, No. 3 (Sep., 1989), pp. 454-479
DOI: 10.2307/2393153
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2393153
Page Count: 26
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Mimetic Processes Within an Interorganizational Field: An Empirical Test
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Abstract

The paper explores DiMaggio and Powell's thesis that under conditions of uncertainty organizational decision makers will mimic the behavior of other organizations in their environment. We add to their discussion by positing that managers are especially likely to mimic the behavior of organizations to which they have some type of network tie via boundary-spanning personnel. Data are presented on the charitable contributions of 75 business corporations to 198 nonprofit organizations in the Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan area in 1980 and 1984. Using logistic regression models, we found that a firm is likely to give more money to a nonprofit that was previously funded by companies whose CEOs and/or giving officers are known personally by the firm's boundary-spanning personnel. Firms are also likely to give greater contributions to a nonprofit that is viewed more favorably by the local philanthropic elite. We also found that a nonprofit is likely to receive more money from a corporation that previously gave money to nonprofits whose directors sit on the nonprofit's board. We concluded that managers utilize the information gathered through extraorganizational, interpersonal networks to make decisions on how to relate to other organizations in their task environment and achieve organizational ends.

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