Technology adoption process
Technology adoption has been used with different meanings by different researchers in the literature. Some researchers regarded technology adoption as an "organization's receptivity to an innovation and change," while some researchers defined the term as "widespread acceptance, or diffusion, of the innovation throughout an organization or relevant social system" (Neeley, 2006:7). Although the term is mostly defined with the aforementioned explanations, adoption can not only be taken as an acquisition and diffusion of new technology. Since the main issue starts after bringing this new technology into a different organizational setting, it is more appropriate for the term "technology adoption" to be explained with the inclusion of implementation and integration as well.
Process studies that investigate the topic considered technology adoption as a type of decision and explained it with a sequential process. As the new technology adoption process can result in important organizational outcomes, it can be thought as a kind of strategic decision or at least it should be. In one of these process explanations, Mintzberg's decision-making process has been taken and the technology adoption process has been categorized under three steps, namely, identification, development, and selection (Langley & Truax, 1994:622). The identification process is related with recognition and diagnosis activities. In this step, the need for a new technology has been realized, and the current status of the organization's technology is investigated. The development process is related with search and design activities. In this step, a new technology can be searched based on the requirements detected in the first step. Last, the selection process is related with evaluation and approval activities. In this step, a final selection decision is made, and the chosen technology is acquired by the organization. This adoption process ends with the choice of the new technology. However, as stated earlier, integration is also important for the technology adoption process. Therefore, similar to the technology innovation process of Mirvis, Sales, and Hackett (1991), implementation, integration (adoption in the model), and diffusion processes can be included to the new technology adoption process.
The technology adoption process starts with awareness. First, the need for a new technology should arise. This may be because of a performance gap between current status and the required one. A performance gap can be realized after a comparison with the competitor, facing unmet objectives or losing market share. As well as realization of a performance gap, acceptance of this gap is also important. Most of the time, it is difficult for managers to accept the fact that their organization fell behind its competitors (Mirvis et al., 1991:116). After this step, investigating the current status and determining the requirements follow. This step is similar to the aforementioned identification step. Each organization's performance gap can be in different areas. One can have quality problems while the other has communication and coordination problems. Based on the problem, the relevant technology solution also changes. Therefore, it is important to diagnose the organization well before deciding on which technology to adopt (Estrin, Foreman, & Garcia-Miller, 2003:18). After investigation, the requirements are known. Therefore, a suitable technology is searched for improvements in specified performance gaps or the organization. In this step, alternative technologies are determined (Mirvis et al., 1991:116,117). This can be made via a benchmarking process with competitors or different industry organizations (Bruque & Moyano, 2007:249). In the search process, criteria are important. Although its functional performance is critical, the cost of this new technology can also be a criterion. In the next step, the decision of new technology is made based on preset criteria and the chosen technology is acquired (Bruque & Moyano, 2007:249). Of course, the selection and acquisition of the new technology is not the end of this process. After acquisition, the implementation and integration step starts (Farrukh & Probert, 2015:97). Implementation of a new technology can be made as a pilot or organization-wide implementation based on the technology type. As it will also be explained in subsequent sections,
Figure 1.1 Technology adoption process.
readiness toward a new technology is critical for implementation. This is also related with the integration issue. Integration refers to the harmonization of this new technology with the existing organizational setting. When taking the whole technology adoption process into consideration, maybe the most critical one is the integration step, because most of the technology projects end up with failure because organizations underestimate the importance of the integration step. The last step is the acceptance step. This is also related with diffusion. If there is a successful integration process, this new technology is accepted and utilized with relevant units in the organization (Ammenwerth, Iller, & Mahler, 2006:2). After utilization of this new technology, necessary improvements are made based on the user feedback (see Figure 1.1).
However, not all the time this process is followed, and some incongruence occurs between the new technology and the current organizational context. Therefore, top management should be careful in technology selection and integration (Knight, 2015).