A Study of the Link between Three Types of Uncertainty and Mimetic Action
This study investigates a central proposition of institutional theory that uncertainty leads to organizational isomorphism. Contrary to most previous studies we apply an individual level approach, and relate the perceived uncertainty of decision makers to mimetic action, which we define as when decision makers deliberately obtain information about other organizations to possibly imitate them in the future. In a survey of Danish municipal managers facing important and complex make-or-buy decisions we test hypotheses about three types of perceived uncertainty, and find that technological uncertainty strongly predicts mimetic action, whereas we do not find significant results for either volume uncertainty or performance uncertainty. Furthermore the results suggest that rules and regulation may constitute an important source of uncertainty to predict mimetic action. The results indicate how uncertainty, through mimetic action, is connected to organizational isomorphism, and highlight that future studies of mimetic isomorphism should pay attention to the multidimensionality of uncertainty.