DIFFUSION OF INNOVATION THEORY
One of the greatest pains to human nature is the pain of a new idea. It...makes you think that after all, your favourite notions may be wrong, your firmest beliefs illfounded... Naturally, therefore, common men hate a new idea, and are disposed more or less to ill-treat the original man who brings it.-Walter Bagehot Physics and Politics
Definition of Diffusion of Innovation In his comprehensive book Diffusion of Innovation, Everett Rogers defines diffusion as the process by which an innovation is communicated through certain channels over time among the members of a social system. Rogers' definition contains four elements that ...view middle of the document...
The rate of adoption, or diffusion rate has become an important area of research to sociologists, and more specifically, to advertisers. In the 1940's, two sociologists, Bryce Ryan and Neal Gross "published their seminal study of the diffusion of hybrid seed among Iowa farmers" renewing interest in the diffusion of innovation S-curve. The now infamous hybrid-corn study resulted in a renewed wave of research. "The rate of adoption of the agricultural innovation followed an S-shaped normal curve when plotted on a cumulative basis over time". This rate of adoption curve was similar to the S-shaped diffusion curve graphed by Tarde forty years earlier. Ryan and Gross classified the segments of Iowa farmers in relation to the amount of time it took them to adopt the innovation, in this case, the hybrid corn seed. The five segments of farmers who adopted the hybrid corn seed or adopter categories are: 1. Innovators - Brave people, puling the change. Innovators are very important communication. 2. Early Adopters - Respectable people, opinion leaders, try out new ideas, but in a careful way. 3. Early Majority - Thoughtful people, careful but accepting change more quickly than the average. 4. Late Majority - Sceptic people will use new ideas or products only when the majority is using it. 5. Laggards - Traditional people, caring for the "old ways", are critical towards new ideas and will only accept it if the new idea has become mainstream or even tradition.
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NEWS-ON-MOBILE NEWSLAND "The first farmers to adopt (the innovators) were more cosmopolite (indicated by travelling more frequently to Des Moines) and of higher socioeconomic status than later adopters". One of the most
important characteristics of the first segment of a population to adopt an innovation, the innovators, is that they require a shorter adoption period than any other category. Rogers identifies several additional characteristics dominant in the innovator type: • • • venturesome, desire for the rash, the daring, and the risky, Control of substantial financial resources to absorb possible loss from an unprofitable innovation. the ability to understand and apply complex technical knowledge, and
• The ability to cope with a high degree of uncertainty about an innovation. Characteristics Rogers identified in the Early Adopters: • • • • integrated part of the local social system, greatest degree of opinion leadership in most systems, serve as role model for other members or society, respected by peers, and
• Successful. Characteristics Rogers identified in the Early Majority: • • • interact frequently with peers, seldom hold positions of opinion leadership, One-third of the members of a system, making the early majority the largest category.
• Deliberate before adopting a new idea. Characteristics Rogers identified in the Late Majority: • • • • one-third of the members of a system, pressure from...