Published Online:https://doi.org/10.5465/annals.2019.0102

The diffusion of organizational practices remains a central concern for scholars from diverse disciplines and backgrounds. We assess the most recent 20 years of research on interorganizational diffusion to establish findings that are now conclusive and identify important questions or areas of research that remain unaddressed. We identify five key issues with the literature, which are largely a consequence of viewing diffusion as a source of homogeneity across organizations. We further propose a point of view that calls for a more fundamental reorientation of diffusion research. Our main contention is that researchers have focused on diffusion processes as producing similarities among organizations but have overlooked theoretical and empirical indications that diffusion processes often create and sustain differences among organizations. We seek to draw attention to this omission, demonstrate its significance, and make a case for a reorientation of diffusion research. In doing so, we hope to advance a more realistic future research agenda that considers diffusion as a source of both homogeneity and heterogeneity across organizations.

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