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Innovation diffusion (Everett Rogers)

Summary of the book by Everett Rogers

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Innovation diffusion (Everett Rogers)

  1. 1. Diffusion of Innovations History and Concepts 1Diffusion of Innovation - An Introduction 7/17/2013 Source: Rogers, E. 1995. Diffusion of innovations. New York: Free Press
  2. 2. Discussion Topic 2 1. Elements of Diffusion of an Innovation 2. The Beginnings of Diffusion Research 3. Landmarks in Diffusion Innovation Research 4. Trends in Diffusion Innovation Research Traditions 5. Criticisms of Diffusion Research 6. Stages in the Innovation-Decision Process 7. Replication versus Re-invention 8. The Change Agent 9. Centralized and Decentralized Diffusion Systems 10. Innovation in Organizations 7/17/2013Diffusion of Innovation - An Introduction
  3. 3. Elements of Diffusion of an Innovation 3 Diffusion of an innovation is defined as the process by which that innovation “is communicated through certain channels over time among the members of a social system” (Rogers, 1983) There are 4 key elements in the diffusion process: 1. Innovation: Any idea, object, or practice that is perceived as new by members of the social system 2. Channels of Communication: Means by which information is transmitted to or within the social system 3. Time: rate at which innovation is diffused or the relative speed with which it is adopted by members of the social system 4. Social System: Individuals, organizations, or agencies that share a common “culture” and are potential adopters of the innovation 7/17/2013Diffusion of Innovation - An Introduction
  4. 4. Attributes of Innovations 4 The characteristics of innovations, as perceived by individuals, help to explain their different rates of adoption 1. Relative Advantage: Degree to which an innovation is perceived as better than the idea it supersedes. 2. Compatibility: Degree to which an innovation is perceived as being consistent with the existing values, past experiences, and needs of potential adopters. 3. Complexity: Degree to which an innovation is perceived as difficult to understand and use. 4. Trialability: Degree to which an innovation may be experimented with on a limited basis. 5. Observability: Degree to which the results of an innovation are visible to others 6. Re-inventability: Degree to which an individual‟s use of a new idea departs from the core or “mainline” version of innovation promoted by a change agency (Eveland et al., 1977) Innovations that are perceived by individuals as having greater relative advantage, compatibility, trialability, observability, re-inventability and has less complexity will be adopted more rapidly than other innovations 7/17/2013Diffusion of Innovation - An Introduction
  5. 5. Communication Channels 5 Communication is the process by which participants create and share information with one another in order to reach a mutual understanding 1. The communication process involves: (a) innovation, (b) an individual or unit of adoption that has knowledge of, or experience using the innovation, (c ) another individual or unit that does not have the knowledge of, or experience with the innovation, and (d) a communication channel connecting the two units 2. The communication channels used may be: (a) mass media (such as radio, television, newspapers which enable one or a few individuals to reach an audience of many), (b) interpersonal (such as face-to-face exchange), or (c ) interactive communication (via internet) 3. Another principle of communication is homophily (degree to which two or more individuals are similar – i.e. belong to the same group, have similar interests, etc.). When homophily is present, communication is likely to have greater effects in terms of knowledge gain. However, the most distinctive problems in the diffusion of innovations is that participants are usually quite heterophilous. Diffusion investigations show that individuals do not evaluate an innovation on the basis of scientific studies of its consequences, instead most depend mainly upon subjective evaluation of an innovation that is conveyed to them from other individuals who have already adopted the innovation. 7/17/2013Diffusion of Innovation - An Introduction
  6. 6. Time 6 Time Dimension is involved in diffusion in: 1. The innovation- decision process: 5 step process through which an individual (or other decision making unit) passes from first knowledge of an innovation: (i) knowledge, (ii) persuasion, (iii) decision, (iv) implementation, and (v) confirmation. Individuals vary in the length of time required to pass through the innovation-decision process. 2. Innovativeness is the degree to which an individual or other unit of adoption is relatively earlier in adopting new ideas than other members of a social system. There are 5 adopter categories on the basis of their innovativeness: (i) innovators, (ii) early adopters, (iii) early majority, (iv) late majority, and (v) laggards. 3. The rate of adoption is the relative speed with which an innovation is adopted by members of a social system 7/17/2013Diffusion of Innovation - An Introduction
  7. 7. Social System 7 Social System is a set of interrelated units that are engaged in joint problem solving to accomplish a common goal 1. A system has structure – patterned arrangements of the units in a system, which gives stability and regularity to individual behavior in a system. For example, norms are the established behavior patterns for the members of a social system 2. Opinion leaders – the degree to which an individual is able to influence informally other individuals‟ attitudes or behavior in a desired way with relative frequency. A change agent is am individual who attempts to influence clients‟ innovation-decisions in a direction that is deemed desirable by a change agency. 3. Innovation-decisions – three main types: (i) optional innovation – decision (choices to adopt or reject an innovation that are made by an individual independent of the decisions of other members of the system, (ii) collective innovation – decision (choices to adopt or reject an innovation that are made by consensus among the members of a system, and (iii) authority innovation – decision (choices to adopt or reject an innovation that are made by relatively few members in a system who possess power, status or technical expertise 4. Consequences – the changes that occur to an individual or a social system as a result of the adoption or rejection of an innovation 7/17/2013Diffusion of Innovation - An Introduction
  8. 8. The Beginnings of Diffusion Research 8 Gabriel Tarde (1843 – 1904), born in France was one of the forefathers of Sociology and Social Psychology and far ahead of his time in thinking about diffusion. What he called “imitation” is today called “adoption” of an innovation. Tarde introduced the S-shaped curve and opinion leadership 7/17/2013 Georg Simmel (1858 –1918) was a German sociologist and among his interests were the concept of a stranger (a member of a system who is not strongly attached to the system). Later scholars, stimulated by Simmel‟s concept of the stranger, derived such concepts as social distance, heterophily, and cosmopoliteness. Diffusion of Innovation - An Introduction
  9. 9. British and German-Austrian Diffusionists 9 The British school of diffusionism was an archaeological and anthropological movement which believed that ancient Egypt was the source of all human culture. According to this school of thought culture cannot have its origin in every parts of the world. All the people of the world are not capable of invention and creation. But people can imitate others cultures. According to them, it is only the ancient Egypt where there is favorable conditions for the origin of the culture. Hence, the British school of thought that accepts that Egypt is the place of the origin of all cultures is called 'Pan Egyptian Theory". Sir Grafton Elliot Smith, (1871 – 1937) was a proponent of the hyperdiffusionist view of prehistory. 7/17/2013 The main contributions of the Austro-German school of Diffusionism were that of Wilhelm Schimdt, Leo Frobenius and Fritz Graebner. Wilhelm Schmidt (1868-1954), theorized on a conjectural universal development that, based on historical-geographical areas of diffusion, could determine the (judgmental) classification of various populations and cultures based on their being „primitive‟ or „civilized‟. In 1897/1898 Leo Frobenius (1873 – 1938) defined several "culture areas" (Kulturkreise), cultures showing similar traits that have been spread by diffusion or invasion. Fritz Graebner (1877 – 1934) advanced the theory of diffusion of culture (Kulturkreise), which postulated diffusions of primitive culture spheres derived from a single archaic type which became the basis of a culture-historical approach to ethnology Diffusion of Innovation - An Introduction
  10. 10. The Anthropology Research Tradition 107/17/2013 Franz Boas (1858-1942) was a pioneering German anthropological field worker who based many of his concepts on experiences gained while working in the field. He believed the cultural inventory of a people was cumulative and was the result of diffusion. Clark Wissler (1870-1947) paid emphasis on intercultural diffusion through the study of diffusion of horses from Spanish explorers to American Indian tribes in the West, and the spread of corn growing from the American Indians to European settlers. Diffusion of Innovation - An Introduction
  11. 11. Landmarks in Innovation Diffusion Research 11 Bryce Ryan and Neal C. Gross (1943) investigated the diffusion of hybrid seed corn among Iowa farmers. In fact, Rogers (1996) mentioned the study of Ryan and Gross became a milestone in diffusion paradigm. Ryan and Gross sought to explain how the hybrid seed corn came to attention and which of two channels (i.e., mass communication and interpersonal communication with peers) led farmers to adopt the new innovation. They found that each channel has different functions. Mass communication functioned as the source of initial information, while interpersonal networks functioned as the influence over the farmers‟ decisions to adopt (p. 125). One of the most important findings in this study is that “the adoption of innovation depends on some combination of well- established interpersonal ties and habitual exposure to mass communication” (p. 127). According to Rogers (1995), Ryan and Gross also made a contribution by identifying the five major stages in the adoption process, which were awareness, interest, evaluation, trial, and adoption. After Ryan and Gross‟s hybrid corn study, about 5,000 papers about diffusion were published in 1994 (Rogers, 1995). 7/17/2013 James S. Coleman, Elihu Katz, and Herbert Menzel (1966) conducted a study on the diffusion of tetracycline, a new medical drug. The Pfizer drug company invented this successful new drug and wanted to investigate the effectiveness of their tetracycline advertisements, which were placed in medical journals. The company asked three professors at Columbia University to find out how physicians adopted the new innovation and how mass communication influenced this adoption process. They conducted a survey to gather accurate and reliable data. Coleman et al. (1966) asked their respondents to list their interpersonal connections in order to investigate the effect of interpersonal network links with the new drug adoption. One of the most important findings was that doctors who had more interpersonal networks adopted the new medical drug more quickly than those that did not. This meant that interpersonal communication channels with peers had a strong influence on the adoption process. Rogers (1996) noted that this Columbia University study is “one of the most influential diffusion studies in showing that the diffusion of an innovation is essentially a social process that occurs through interpersonal networks” (p. 419). Raymond Bowers (1938) focused on the innovation-decision process and utilized primary data from Respondents. Bowers used a diffusion equation to guide his study of the spread of the use of ham radios in the United States. Rogers (1995) pointed out that Bowers‟ study provided the first evidence that later adopters of innovations are most influenced by personal feedback from the earlier adopters than they are by mass media promotion of innovations. Diffusion of Innovation - An Introduction
  12. 12. From independent to Integrated 12 1940s and 1950s Diffusion of innovation research began in a series of independent studies based on discipline 1962 Rogers in his book “Diffusion of Innovations” described a general diffusion model Mid 1960s Onwards Boundaries between diffusion research traditions began to break down – a more cross-disciplinary viewpoint emerged 7/17/2013Diffusion of Innovation - An Introduction
  13. 13. Trends in Diffusion Research Traditions 137/17/2013 Main Dependent Variable Independent Variables Unit of Analysis 1 Earliness of knowing about an innovation by members of a social system Characteristics of members (e.g. cosmopoliteness, communication channel behavior) Members of the social system (usually individuals) 2 Rate of adoption of different innovations in a social system Attributes of innovations (e.g. complexity, compatibility, etc.) as perceived by members of a system Innovations 3 Innovativeness of members of a social system (the members may be individuals or organizations) Characteristics of members of a social system (e.g. cosmopoliteness, communication channel behavior, resources, social status, contact with change agents); system-level variables Members of the social system (usually individuals or organizations) 4 Opinion leadership in diffusing innovations Characteristics of members of a social system (e.g. cosmopoliteness), system norms and other system variables; communication channel behavior Members of the social system (usually individuals) 5 Diffusion networks Patterns in the network links between tow or more members of a system Dyadic network links connecting pairs of individuals (or organizations) in a system 6 Rate of adoption of innovations in different social systems System norms; characteristics of the social system (e.g. concentration of opinion leadership); change agent variables (e.g. their strategies of change); types of innovation-decisions Social system 7 Communication channel use (e.g. whether mass media or interpersonal) Innovativeness and other characteristics of members of a social system (e.g. cosmopoliteness), system norms; attributes of innovations Members of systems (or the innovation-decision) 8 Consequences of an innovation Characteristics of members; the nature of the social system; the nature and use of the innovation Members or social systems or innovations Diffusion of Innovation - An Introduction
  14. 14. Criticisms of Diffusion Research 14 1. Pro-innovation bias is the implication in diffusion research that an innovation should be diffused and adopted by all members of a social system, that it should be diffused more rapidly, and that the innovation should be neither re-invented nor rejected 2. The individual-blame bias, the tendency to hold an individual responsible for his or her problems, rather than the system of which the individual is a part 3. The recall problem in diffusion research, which may lead to inaccuracies when respondents are asked to remember the time at which they adopted a new idea 4. The issue of equality in the diffusion of innovations, as socio-economic gaps among the members of a social system 7/17/2013Diffusion of Innovation - An Introduction
  15. 15. A Model of Five Stages in the Innovation-Decision Process 157/17/2013 When the individual is exposed to the innovation‟s existence and gains an understanding of how it functions When the individual forms a favorable or unfavorable attitude toward the innovation When the individual engages in activities that leads to a choice to adopt or reject the innovation When the individual puts an innovation into use When the individual seeks reinforcement for an innovation- decision already made but may reverse the decision if exposed to conflicting messages about it
  16. 16. Replication Versus Re-invention 167/17/2013 The nature of the utilization of knowledge in Diffusion of Innovation is further complicated by contrasting straightforward adoption (replication) versus reinvention (adaptation). Early diffusion studies assumed that adoption of an innovation meant the exact copying or imitation of how the innovation had been used previously in a different setting. However, following the work of Charters and Pellegrin (1972) the accepted wisdom now recognizes the concept of reinvention – defined as the degree to which an innovation is changed or modified by a user in the process of its adoption and implementation (Rogers, 1995). Some of the drivers of reinvention are listed below, much of which occurs at the implementation stage of the innovation- decision process (Rogers, 1995, p: 187): 1. Reinvention can occur because of adopters‟ lack of full knowledge about the innovation. 2. Relatively complex innovations are more likely to be reinvented and simplified. 3. An innovation that is an abstract concept or a tool with many possible applications is more likely to be reinvented. 4. When an innovation is implemented in order to solve a wide range of problems, reinvention is more likely to occur. 5. Local pride of ownership may be a cause of reinvention. 6. Reinvention may be encouraged by a change agency 7. Re-invention occurs when an innovation must be adapted to the structure of the organization that is adopting iot 8. Re-invention may be more frequent later in the diffusion proces, as later adopters profit from experiences gained from early adopters Another term for re-invention is its opposite “fidelity” (Emshoff and Blakely, 1987; Lewis and Seibold 1996; Emshoff et. al., 2002)
  17. 17. The Change Agent 177/17/2013 Change agents as Linkers (p. 368)  The main role of the change agent is to facilitate the flow of innovations from a change agency to an audience of clients  Change agents usually possess a high degree of expertise regarding the innovations that are being diffused The sequence of Change Agent Roles 1. To develop a need for change on the part of clients 2. To establish an information exchange relationship 3. To diagnose problems 4. To create an intent to change in the client 5. To translate intentions into action 6. To stabilize adoption and prevent discontinuance 7. To achieve a terminal relationship with clients A Change Agent‟s relative success in securing the adoption of innovations by clients is positively related to: 1. The extent of the change agent‟s effort in contacting clients 2. A client orientation rather than a change agency orientation 3. The degree to which the diffusion program is compatible with clients‟ needs 4. The change agent‟s empathy with clients 5. His or her homophily with clients 6. Credibility in the clients‟ eyes 7. The extent to which he or she works through opinion leaders 8. Increasing clients‟ ability to evaluate innovations
  18. 18. Centralized and Decentralized Diffusion Systems 187/17/2013 Characteristics of Diffusion Systems Centralized Diffusion System Decentralized Diffusion System 1 Degree of centralization in decision making and power Overall control of decisions by top administrators and technical SMEs Wide sharing of power and control among the members of the diffusion system; client control by local systems 2 Direction of diffusion Top-down diffusion from experts to local users of innovations Peer diffusion of innovations through horizontal networks 3 Who decides which innovation to diffuse? Top administrators and technical SMEs Local units decide which innovations should diffuse on the basis of their informal evaluations of the innovations 4 Importance of the clients‟ needs in driving the diffusion process An innovation-centered approach A problem-centered approach 5 Amount of re-invention A low degree if local adaptation and re- invention of the innovations as they diffuse among adopters A high degree of local adaptation as they diffuse among adopters
  19. 19. Innovation in Organizations 197/17/2013 The innovation-decision process in organizations is complex (p. 403)  Implementation involves a number of individuals, perhaps including both champions and opponents of the new idea, each of whom plays a role in the innovation-decision.  Implementation amounts to mutual adaptation in which both the innovation and the organization change in important ways At first, innovation in organizations was mainly studies by correlating independent variables with organizational innovativeness. Studies in organizational innovativeness have been replaced by research on the innovation process in organizations Innovation process can be divided into 2 sub processes: initiation (all of the information gathering, conceptualizing, and planning for the adoption of an innovation, leading up to the decision to adopt, and (2) implementation all of the events, actions, and decisions involved in putting an innovation into use)