This Powerful Theory Will Help You Understand Your Employees and Influence Consumer Behavior.

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In today’s fast-paced business world, adept and nimble leadership is crucial for success. Effective leaders are responsible for setting the tone, driving innovation, and inspiring others to achieve. But how do you perfect these tasks? One powerful way is by harnessing Rene Girard’s mimetic theory, a concept that emphasizes the role of imitation and desire in social interactions. This theory has gained significant attention in recent years. Particularly among business leaders and entrepreneurs, because it provides a powerful framework for understanding both employee and consumer behavior.

What is Girard's Mimetic Theory?

Rene Girard’s mimetic theory is theory of human behavior that emphasizes the role of imitation and desire in social interactions. According to Girard, human beings are fundamentally imitative creatures. And our desires and behaviors are largely shaped by the desires and behaviors of those around us. Mimetic desire is the idea that we desire what others desire. And we imitate the behavior of others to achieve what they have.

Understanding Employee Behavior

Girard’s mimetic theory provides a powerful framework for understanding employee behavior. When employees see someone else achieve or acquire something they desire, they are more likely to imitate that behavior in the hopes of achieving the same success. Mimetic theory helps leaders understand the natural desire for emulation among employees, and it provides a way to channel this desire positively. By promoting healthy competition and collaboration, leaders can create a culture of innovation and teamwork that inspires employees to achieve their full potential.

Influencing Consumer Behavior

Mimetic theory also provides a way to influence consumer behavior. Consumers are influenced by the desires and behaviors of others, particularly those they admire or respect. By understanding this natural desire for emulation, businesses can create marketing campaigns that appeal to this desire and influence consumer behavior. For example, businesses can use celebrity endorsements or social proof to create a desire for their products or services.

Strategies for Applying Mimetic Theory in Your Organization

To apply Girard’s mimetic theory in your organization, leaders & entrepreneurs can use several strategies:

  1. Lead by example and demonstrate the behaviors and attitudes that you want others to emulate in the organization.
  2. Identify shared desires and goals, and align them with the goals of the organization as a whole.
  3. Create a culture of collaboration that values teamwork, open communication, and shared ownership.
  4. Encourage innovation and creativity by creating an environment that values pioneering ideas.

Putting Mimetic Theory into Action

To put these strategies into action, entrepreneurs must follow these steps:

  1. Evaluate the current company culture and identify areas for improvement.
  2. Set goals and objectives that align with the company’s vision and mission.
  3. Communicate this new approach to employees and provide training and resources to support their success.
  4. Monitor progress and make adjustments as needed.

Examples of Mimetic Theory in Action

An example of mimetic theory in action is Microsoft’s new CEO, Satya Nadella, who adopted a “growth mindset” that emphasized collaboration, creativity, and innovation. Under Nadella’s leadership, Microsoft’s stock price nearly tripled, and the company’s market capitalization grew to more than $2 trillion.

Another example can be found in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic novel, The Great Gatsby. The desire for imitation and competition leads to conflict and tragedy, highlighting the dangerous potential of unchecked mimetic desire.


In conclusion, understanding mimetic theory can provide business leaders with a powerful framework for motivating and inspiring their teams. By channeling the natural human desire for emulation in positive ways, leaders can foster a culture of collaboration and healthy competition that drives innovation and success.

To put this theory into action, entrepreneurs can start by evaluating their current company culture and identifying areas for improvement. They can then set goals and objectives that align with the company’s vision and mission, and communicate this new approach to employees while providing training and resources to support their success. Monitoring progress and making adjustments as needed is also important to ensure continued success.

By applying these strategies, leaders can create an environment where employees feel valued, engaged, and motivated to achieve their full potential. Mimetic theory offers a powerful tool for understanding human behavior and driving success in the fast-paced and ever-changing business world.

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