Factors Influencing the Adoption Process

Rogers defines a person’s level of innovativeness as “the degree to which an individual is relatively earlier in adopting new ideas than the other members of his social system.” As Figure 9.4 shows, innovators are the first to adopt something new. After a slow start, an increasing number

FiGURE 9.4 Adopter Categorization on the Basis of Relative Time of Adoption of Innovations

Source: Tungsten, http://en.wikipedia.ord/wiki/Everett_Rogers. Based on E. Rogers, Diffusion of Innovations (London: Free Press, 1962).

of people adopt the innovation, the number reaches a peak, and then it diminishes as fewer nonadopters remain. The five adopter groups (innovators, early adopters, early majority, late majority, and laggards) differ in their value orientations and their motives for adopting or resisting the new product.30

Personal influence, the effect one person has on another’s attitude or purchase probability, has greater significance in some situations and for some individuals than others, and it is more important in evaluation than in the other stages. It has more power over late than early adopters and in risky situations.

Five characteristics influence an innovation’s rate of adoption. The first is relative advantage, the degree to which the innovation appears superior to existing products. The second is compatibility, the degree to which the innovation matches consumers’ values and experiences. The third is complexity, the degree to which the innovation is difficult to understand or use. The fourth is divisibility, the degree to which the innovation can be tried on a limited basis. The fifth is communicability, the degree to which the benefits of use are observable or describable to others. Other characteristics that influence the rate of adoption are cost, risk and uncertainty, scientific credibility, and social approval.

Finally, adoption is associated with variables in the organization’s environment (community progressiveness, community income), the organization itself (size, profits, pressure to change), and the administrators (education level, age, sophistication). Other forces come into play in trying to get a product adopted into organizations that are mostly government-funded, such as public schools. A controversial or innovative product can be squelched by negative public opinion.

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