Diffusion of Innovations

Topics: Diffusion of innovations, Sociology, Innovation Pages: 13 (4302 words) Published: August 22, 2013
Diffusion of innovations
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The diffusion of innovations according to Rogers. With successive groups of consumers adopting the new technology (shown in blue), its market share (yellow) will eventually reach the saturation level. In mathematics the S curve is known as the logistic function. Diffusion of Innovations is a theory that seeks to explain how, why, and at what rate new ideas and technology spread through cultures. Everett Rogers, a professor of rural sociology, popularized the theory in his 1962 book Diffusion of Innovations. He said diffusion is the process by which an innovation is communicated through certain channels over time among the members of a social system. The origins of the diffusion of innovations theory are varied and span multiple disciplines. Rogers (1962) espoused the theory that there are four main elements that influence the spread of a new idea: the innovation, communication channels, time, and a social system. This process relies heavily on human capital. The innovation must be widely adopted in order to self-sustain. Within the rate of adoption, there is a point at which an innovation reaches critical mass.The categories of adopters are: innovators, early adopters, early majority, late majority, and laggards (Rogers 1962, p. 150). Diffusion of Innovations manifests itself in different ways in various cultures and fields and is highly subject to the type of adopters and innovation-decision process. The concept of diffusion was first studied by the French sociologist Gabriel Tarde (1890) and by German and Austrian anthropologists such as Friedrich Ratzel and Leo Frobenius.[1] Its basic epidemiological or internal-influence form was formulated by H. Earl Pemberton,[2] who provided examples of institutional diffusion such as postage stamps and standardized school ethic codes. In 1962 Everett Rogers, a professor of rural sociology published his work:"Diffusion of Innovations". In this seminal piece, Rogers synthesized research from over 508 diffusion studies and produced a theory applied to the adoption of innovations among individuals and organizations. Roger's work asserts that 4 main elements influence the spread of a new idea: the innovation, communication channels, time, and a social system. These elements work in conjunction with one another: diffusion is the process by which an innovation is communicated through certain channels over time among the members of a social system. Rogers adds that central to this theory is process. Individuals experience 5 stages of accepting a new innovation: knowledge, persuasion, decision, implementation, and confirmation. If the innovation is adopted, it spreads via various communication channels. During communication, the idea is rarely evaluated from a scientific standpoint; rather, subjective perceptions of the innovation influence diffusion. The process occurs over time. Finally, social systems determine diffusion, norms on diffusion, roles of opinion leaders and change agents, types of innovation decisions, and innovation consequences. To use Rogers’ model in health requires us to assume that the innovation in classical diffusion theory is equivalent to scientific research findings in the context of practice, an assumption that has not been rigorously tested. How can we spread and sustain innovations in health service delivery and organization? Greenhalgh et al., evaluate an evidence-based model for considering the diffusion of innovations in health service organizations.[3] The origins of the diffusion of innovations theory are varied and span across multiple disciplines. Rogers identifies six main traditions that impacted diffusion research: anthropology, early sociology, rural sociology, education, industrial sociology, and medical sociology. The diffusion of innovation theory has been largely influenced by the work of rural sociologists.[4] In 1971, Rogers published a follow-up...
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