This article explains the Diffusion of Innovations theory by Everett Rogers in a practical way. After reading you will understand the basics of this powerful marketing tool. Each product has a certain useful life. It is not about the degree of wear and tear and the maintenance of quality of each separate product, but also about market value. In his Diffusion of Innovations theory, sociologist Everett Rogers examines this in greater detail and focuses on at what rate a new product or idea spreads through a certain group.
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Quality and Safety in Health Care. The interactions that link these individuals are represented Spanking in tights the edges of the network and can be based on the probability or strength of social connections. Public consequences comprise the impact of an innovation on those other than the actor, Rogers model of inovation diffusion private consequences refer to the impact on the actor. Potential adopters have a threshold, which is a fraction of his neighbors who adopt the innovation that must be reached before he will adopt. This tension often plays out among its individual members. The lowest levels were generally larger in numbers and tended to coincide with various demographic attributes that might be targeted by mass advertising. We use your LinkedIn profile and activity data to personalize ads and to show you more relevant ads. On the other hand, homophilous social systems tend toward system norms. Variables Determining the Rate of Adoption of Innovations Collective Optional Innovation can be adopted or rejected by either an Authority individual members or the entire social system 2. Laggards are technology skeptics Rogers model of inovation diffusion want only to maintain the status quo. The concept of diffusion was first studied by the French sociologist Gabriel Tarde in late 19th century  and by German and Austrian anthropologists and geographers such as Friedrich Ratzel and Leo Frobenius.
Diffusion goes beyond the two-step flow theory, centering on the conditions that increase or decrease the likelihood that an innovation, a new idea, product or practice, will be adopted by members of a given culture.
- The Diffusion of Innovation theory by Everett Rogers is one of the classic frameworks which helps us understand how innovation spreads.
- Diffusion of Innovations , by Everett Rogers
- Everett M.
- Diffusion of innovations is a theory that seeks to explain how, why, and at what rate new ideas and technology spread.
- This article explains the Diffusion of Innovations theory by Everett Rogers in a practical way.
Diffusion goes beyond the two-step flow theory, centering on the conditions that increase or decrease the likelihood that an innovation, a new idea, product or practice, will be adopted by members of a given culture.
In multi-step diffusion, the opinion leader still exerts a large influence on the behavior of individuals, called adopters, but there are also other intermediaries between the media and the audience's decision-making. Innovations are not adopted by all individuals in a social system at the same time.
Instead, they tend to adopt in a time sequence, and can be classified into adopter categories based upon how long it takes for them to begin using the new idea. Practically speaking, it's very useful for a change agent to be able to identify which category certain individuals belong to, since the short-term goal of most change agents is to facilitate the adoption of an innovation. Adoption of a new idea is caused by human interaction through interpersonal networks. If the initial adopter of an innovation discusses it with two members of a given social system, and these two become adopters who pass the innovation along to two peers, and so on, the resulting distribution follows a binomial expansion.
Expect adopter distributions to follow a bell-shaped curve over time Rogers, This is defined as the degree to which an individual is relatively early in adopting a new idea then other members of a social system. Innovativeness is considered "relative" in that an individual has either more or less of it than others in a social system Rogers, The above figure shows the normal frequency distributions divided into five categories: innovators, early adopters, early majority, late majority and laggards.
Innovators are the first 2. The next The next 34 percent of the adopters are called the early majority. The 34 percent of the group to the right of the mean are the late majority, and the last 16 percent are considered laggards Rogers, The above method of classifying adopters is not symmetrical, nor is it necessary for it to be so. There are three categories to the left of the mean and only two to the right.
While it is possible to break the laggard group into early and late laggards, research shows this single group to be fairly homogenous. While innovators and early adopters could be combined, research shows these two groups as having distinctly different characteristics. The categories are 1 exhaustive, in that they include all units of study, 2 mutually exclusive, excluding from any other category a unit of study already appearing in a category, and 3 derived from one classificatory principle.
This method of adopter categorization is presently the most widely used in diffusion research Rogers, Usually, innovators have substantial financial resources, and the ability to understand and apply complex technical knowledge. While others may consider the innovator to be rash or daring, it is the hazardous risk-taking that is of salient value to this type of individual.
The innovator is also willing to accept the occasional setback when new ideas prove unsuccessful Rogers, Early adopters tend to be integrated into the local social system more than innovators. The early adopters are considered to be localites, versus the cosmopolite innovators.
People in the early adopter category seem to have the greatest degree of opinion leadership in most social systems. They provide advice and information sought by other adopters about an innovation.
Change agents will seek out early adopters to help speed the diffusion process. The early adopter is usually respected by his or her peers and has a reputation for successful and discrete use of new ideas Rogers, Members of the early majority category will adopt new ideas just before the average member of a social system. They interact frequently with peers, but are not often found holding leadership positions. As the link between very early adopters and people late to adopt, early majority adopters play an important part in the diffusion process.
Their innovation-decision time is relatively longer than innovators and early adopters, since they deliberate some time before completely adopting a new idea.
Seldom leading, early majority adopters willingly follow in adopting innovations Rogers, The late majority are a skeptical group, adopting new ideas just after the average member of a social system. Their adoption may be borne out of economic necessity and in response to increasing social pressure.
They are cautious about innovations, and are reluctant to adopt until most others in their social system do so first. An innovation must definitely have the weight of system norms behind it to convince the late majority.
While they may be persuaded about the utility of an innovation, there must be strong pressure from peers to adopt Rogers, Laggards are traditionalists and the last to adopt an innovation. Possessing almost no opinion leadership, laggards are localite to the point of being isolates compared to the other adopter categories. Individual laggards mainly interact with other traditionalists.
An innovation finally adopted by a laggard may already be rendered obsolete by more recent ideas already in use by innovators. Laggards are likely to be suspicious not only of innovations, but of innovators and change agents as well Rogers, Even contributors in this field of research find problems with the scope of the research and call uses and gratification an umbrella concept in which several theories reside Infante et al.
Researchers in this field argue that scholars have tried to do too much and should limit the scope and take a cultural-empirical approach to how people choose from the abundance of cultural products available. Critics claim the theory pays too much attention to the individual and does not look at the social context and the role the media plays in that social context.
Rubin , as cited in Littlejohn , suggests that audience motive research based on uses and gratification research has been too compartmentalized within certain cultures and demographic groups, leading to the assumption this has thwarted synthesis and integration of research results, which are two key ingredients in theory building.
The uses and gratification theory is a basic extension of the definition of an attitude, which is a non-linear cluster of beliefs, evaluations, and perceptions. These beliefs, evaluations, and perceptions give individuals latitude over how they employ media in their lives; in other words, how individuals filter, interpret, and convey to others the information received from a medium.
A key to this research is that the consumer, or audience member, is the focal point instead of the message. The research views the members of an audience as actively utilizing media contents, rather than being passively acted upon by the media, according to Katz, Blumer, and Gurevitch as cited in Littlejohn When audience members, not the media, are the action takers, the variations taken from the messages received are the intervening variables.
A core assumption of uses and gratification research is the assumption that individual needs are satisfied by audience members actively seeking out the mass media Infante et al.
In , the researcher identified two types of television viewers. The non-habitual viewer is more goal oriented when watching television and does not necessarily feel that television is important.
The researcher proposes there are two kinds of belief; belief in something and belief about something. The example used by Fishbein is the person who believes in marijuana as a recreational drug or the person who believes that using marijuana will move on to other drugs and serious crimes in order to continue the habit. The two beliefs about marijuana mentioned above would change dramatically if more serious drugs and crime were evaluated as bad.
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Rogers model of inovation diffusion. Diffusion of Innovation Theory by Everett Rogers
Diffusion of Innovations , by Everett Rogers The idea suggests that, for good or bad, change can be promoted rather easily in a social system through a domino effect.
The tipping point idea finds its origins in diffusion theory, which is a set of generalizations regarding the typical spread of innovations within a social system. What I find in this comprehensive and even-handed treatment is an insightful explanation of the conditions that indicate that an innovation will reach the much-hyped tipping point. In this review, I will outline these basic characteristics of an innovation and its context that correlate with its diffusion.
Furthermore, I will show the ways in which these understandings improve our capacity to take efficacious action to speed it up. At this point, I will be able to evaluate the claim that the tipping point makes it easy to spread change. The most striking feature of diffusion theory is that, for most members of a social system, the innovation-decision depends heavily on the innovation-decisions of the other members of the system.
In fact, empirically we see the successful spread of an innovation follows an S-shaped curve The innovation-decision is made through a cost-benefit analysis where the major obstacle is uncertainty. People will adopt an innovation if they believe that it will, all things considered, enhance their utility. So they must believe that the innovation may yield some relative advantage to the idea it supersedes How can they know for sure that there are benefits?
Also, in consideration of costs, people determine to what degree the innovation would disrupt other functioning facets of their daily life. Is it compatible with existing habits and values?
Is it hard to use? The newness and unfamiliarity of an innovation infuse the cost-benefit analysis with a large dose of uncertainty.
It sounds good, but does it work? Will it break? Since people are on average risk-averse, the uncertainty will often result in a postponement of the decision until further evidence can be gathered.
But the key is that this is not the case for everyone. For a successful innovation, the adopter distributions follow a bell-shaped curve, the derivative of the S-shaped diffusion curve, over time and approach normality Diffusion scholars divide this bell-shaped curve to characterize five categories of system member innovativeness, where innovativeness is defined as the degree to which an individual is relatively earlier in adopting new ideas than other members of a system.
These groups are: 1 innovators, 2 early adopters, 3 early majority, 4 late majority, and 5 laggards The personal characteristics and interaction of these groups illuminates the aforementioned domino effect.
Innovators are venturesome types that enjoy being on the cutting edge If the opinion leaders observe that the innovation has been effective for the innovators, then they will be encouraged to adopt. This group earns respect for its judicious, well-informed decision-making, and hence this group is where most opinion leaders in a social system reside Much of the social system does not have the inclination or capability to remain abreast of the most recent information about innovations, so they instead trust the decisions made by opinion leaders.
Additionally, much of the social system merely wants to stay in step with the rest. Since opinion leader adoption is a good indicator that an innovation is going to be adopted by many others, these conformity-loving members are encouraged to adopt So a large subsection of the social system follows suit with the trusted opinion leaders. This is the fabled tipping point, where the rate of adoption rapidly increases.
Those who have not adopted lose status or economic viability, and this contextual pressure motivates adoption The last adopters, laggards, can either be very traditional or be isolates in their social system. If they are traditional, they are suspicious of innovations and often interact with others who also have traditional values. It takes much longer than average for laggards to adopt innovations. The tipping point is marked by opinion leader adoption. The majority responds by rapidly adopting.
This analysis suggests that the spread of an innovation hinges on a surprisingly small point: namely, whether or not opinion leaders vouch for it. His Diffusion of Innovations is particularly famous in the marketing world. In this cycle theory he distinguishes five stages in which the product may find itself with five different user groups that accept the product or idea.
These determine the success of a product. Through his theory it becomes clear how a product or idea develops among the users. Depending on the stage of the product, several adjustments take place, for example much or little promotion or a high or low sales price. This small group of people wants to be the first to try the product and they are willing to take risks. These exclusive users in this group are therefore trend setters.
Subsequently, the product will become increasingly popular and sales will increase. Just like the innovators, the early adopters like to try out new things and they are not afraid to invest in new products. Because of this knowledge they play an important role in word- of- mouth advertising with respect to the new product as a result of which sales will increase strongly. The early majority group loves trends, but prefers to wait and see before making a purchase.
The product will be bought in droves by this group of people. The product will become extremely popular and this will cause a landslide in demand. The late majority group actually lags behind and will only buy the product after many other people have bought it and its popularity is already decreasing. The reason why this group does not buy the product from the start has to do with confidence in the product.
This group has to be absolutely certain that they are not making a bad buy. The laggards group lags behind consciously or unconsciously in the trend and does not like innovation or change. It is not until the product is not much in demand any more and is about to leave the market that this group decides to buy the product after all.
The most obvious reason is that this group waits until the sales price is lowered. To maintain a good market position, companies look to sell their products to the five groups.
By offering similar products to different groups, companies will spread their risks. In the Netherlands, Philips does this with their coffee machines. This machine will make drinking coffee exciting and pleasurable. What do you think? Do you recognize the practical explanation or do you have more additions? If you liked this article, then please subscribe to our Free Newsletter for the latest posts on Management models and methods.
Diffusion of innovations is a theory that seeks to explain how, why, and at what rate new ideas and technology spread. Everett Rogers , a professor of communication studies , popularized the theory in his book Diffusion of Innovations ; the book was first published in , and is now in its fifth edition The origins of the diffusion of innovations theory are varied and span multiple disciplines.
Rogers proposes that four main elements influence the spread of a new idea: the innovation itself, 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. The criterion for the adopter categorization is innovativeness, defined as the degree to which an individual adopts a new idea.
The concept of diffusion was first studied by the French sociologist Gabriel Tarde in late 19th century  and by German and Austrian anthropologists and geographers such as Friedrich Ratzel and Leo Frobenius. The study of diffusion of innovations took off in the subfield of rural sociology in the midwestern United States in the s and s.
Agriculture technology was advancing rapidly, and researchers started to examine how independent farmers were adopting hybrid seeds, equipment, and techniques.
Earl Pemberton,  who provided examples of institutional diffusion  such as postage stamps and standardized school ethics codes.
In , Everett Rogers , a professor of rural sociology, published his seminal work: Diffusion of Innovations. Rogers synthesized research from over diffusion studies across the fields that initially influenced the theory: anthropology , early sociology, rural sociology , education , industrial sociology and medical sociology. Using his synthesis, Rogers produced a theory of the adoption of innovations among individuals and organizations.
His methodologies are closely followed in recent diffusion research, even as the field has expanded into, and been influenced by, other methodological disciplines such as social network analysis and communication. Studies have explored many characteristics of innovations. Meta-reviews have identified several characteristics that are common among most studies. Potential adopters evaluate an innovation on its relative advantage the perceived efficiencies gained by the innovation relative to current tools or procedures , its compatibility with the pre-existing system, its complexity or difficulty to learn, its trialability or testability, its potential for reinvention using the tool for initially unintended purposes , and its observed effects.
These qualities interact and are judged as a whole. For example, an innovation might be extremely complex, reducing its likelihood to be adopted and diffused, but it might be very compatible with a large advantage relative to current tools. Even with this high learning curve, potential adopters might adopt the innovation anyway. Studies also identify other characteristics of innovations, but these are not as common as the ones that Rogers lists above.
Specifically, innovations with a small core and large periphery are easier to adopt. Likewise, innovations that make tasks easier are likely to be adopted. Even when there are high knowledge requirements, support from prior adopters or other sources can increase the chances for adoption.
Like innovations, adopters have been determined to have traits that affect their likelihood to adopt an innovation. A bevy of individual personality traits have been explored for their impacts on adoption, but with little agreement. Unsurprisingly, potential adopters who are motivated to adopt an innovation are likely to make the adjustments needed to adopt it. Finally, potential adopters who have the power or agency to create change, particularly in organizations, are more likely to adopt an innovation than someone with less power over his choices.
Organizations face more complex adoption possibilities because organizations are both the aggregate of its individuals and its own system with a set of procedures and norms. Organizations can feel pressured by a tension for change. If the organization's situation is untenable, it will be motivated to adopt an innovation to change its fortunes.
This tension often plays out among its individual members. Innovations that match the organization's pre-existing system require fewer coincidental changes and are easy to assess and more likely to be adopted.
Where an innovation is diffusing through the organization's environment for any reason, the organization is more likely to adopt it.
Diffusion occurs through a five—step decision-making process. It occurs through a series of communication channels over a period of time among the members of a similar social system. Ryan and Gross first identified adoption as a process in An individual might reject an innovation at any time during or after the adoption process.
Abrahamson examined this process critically by posing questions such as: How do technically inefficient innovations diffuse and what impedes technically efficient innovations from catching on?
Abrahamson makes suggestions for how organizational scientists can more comprehensively evaluate the spread of innovations. However, the descriptions of the categories have remained similar throughout the editions. Based on these considerations, three types of innovation-decisions have been identified. The rate of adoption is defined as the relative speed at which participants adopt an innovation. Rate is usually measured by the length of time required for a certain percentage of the members of a social system to adopt an innovation.
In general, individuals who first adopt an innovation require a shorter adoption period adoption process when compared to late adopters. Within the adoption curve at some point the innovation reaches critical mass. This is when the number of individual adopters ensures that the innovation is self-sustaining. Rogers outlines several strategies in order to help an innovation reach this stage, including when an innovation adopted by a highly respected individual within a social network and creating an instinctive desire for a specific innovation.
Another strategy includes injecting an innovation into a group of individuals who would readily use said technology, as well as providing positive reactions and benefits for early adopters. Adoption is an individual process detailing the series of stages one undergoes from first hearing about a product to finally adopting it.
Diffusion signifies a group phenomenon, which suggests how an innovation spreads. Rogers defines an adopter category as a classification of individuals within a social system on the basis of innovativeness. In the book Diffusion of Innovations , Rogers suggests a total of five categories of adopters in order to standardize the usage of adopter categories in diffusion research. The adoption of an innovation follows an S curve when plotted over a length of time. Change agents bring innovations to new communities— first through the gatekeepers, then through the opinion leaders, and so on through the community.
Failed diffusion does not mean that the technology was adopted by no one. From a social networks perspective, a failed diffusion might be widely adopted within certain clusters but fail to make an impact on more distantly related people. Networks that are over-connected might suffer from a rigidity that prevents the changes an innovation might bring, as well.
For example, Rogers discussed a situation in Peru involving the implementation of boiling drinking water to improve health and wellness levels in the village of Los Molinas. The residents had no knowledge of the link between sanitation and illness. The campaign worked with the villagers to try to teach them to boil water, burn their garbage, install latrines and report cases of illness to local health agencies.
In Los Molinas, a stigma was linked to boiled water as something that only the "unwell" consumed, and thus, the idea of healthy residents boiling water prior to consumption was frowned upon.
The two-year educational campaign was considered to be largely unsuccessful. This failure exemplified the importance of the roles of the communication channels that are involved in such a campaign for social change. An examination of diffusion in El Salvador determined that there can be more than one social network at play as innovations are communicated.
One network carries information and the other carries influence. While people might hear of an innovation's uses, in Rogers' Los Molinas sanitation case, a network of influence and status prevented adoption. Lazarsfeld and Merton first called attention to the principles of homophily and its opposite, heterophily. Using their definition, Rogers defines homophily as "the degree to which pairs of individuals who interact are similar in certain attributes, such as beliefs, education, social status, and the like".
Homophilous individuals engage in more effective communication because their similarities lead to greater knowledge gain as well as attitude or behavior change. As a result, homophilous people tend to promote diffusion among each other. Therefore, an ideal situation would involve potential adopters who are homophilous in every way, except in knowledge of the innovation.
Promotion of healthy behavior provides an example of the balance required of homophily and heterophily. People tend to be close to others of similar health status. This presents a critical challenge for health communications, as ties between heterophilous people are relatively weaker, harder to create, and harder to maintain.
Once one previously homophilous tie adopts the behavior or innovation, the other members of that group are more likely to adopt it, too. Not all individuals exert an equal amount of influence over others. In this sense opinion leaders are influential in spreading either positive or negative information about an innovation. Opinion leaders have the most influence during the evaluation stage of the innovation-decision process and on late adopters.
Research was done in the early s at the University of Chicago attempting to assess the cost-effectiveness of broadcast advertising on the diffusion of new products and services. The lowest levels were generally larger in numbers and tended to coincide with various demographic attributes that might be targeted by mass advertising. However, it found that direct word of mouth and example were far more influential than broadcast messages, which were only effective if they reinforced the direct influences.
This led to the conclusion that advertising was best targeted, if possible, on those next in line to adopt, and not on those not yet reached by the chain of influence. Research on actor-network theory ANT also identifies a significant overlap between the ANT concepts and the diffusion of innovation which examine the characteristics of innovation and its context among various interested parties within a social system to assemble a network or system which implements innovation.
Other research relating the concept to public choice theory finds that the hierarchy of influence for innovations need not, and likely does not, coincide with hierarchies of official, political, or economic status. Prior to the introduction of the Internet, it was argued that social networks had a crucial role in the diffusion of innovation particularly tacit knowledge in the book The IRG Solution — hierarchical incompetence and how to overcome it.
The social model proposed by Ryan and Gross  is expanded by Valente who uses social networks as a basis for adopter categorization instead of solely relying on the system-level analysis used by Ryan and Gross.
Valente also looks at an individual's personal network, which is a different application than the organizational perspective espoused by many other scholars. Recent research by Wear shows, that particularly in regional and rural areas, significantly more innovation takes place in communities which have stronger inter-personal networks.
Innovations are often adopted by organizations through two types of innovation-decisions: collective innovation decisions and authority innovation decisions.
The collective decision occurs when adoption is by consensus. The authority decision occurs by adoption among very few individuals with high positions of power within an organization. Within an organization certain individuals are termed "champions" who stand behind an innovation and break through opposition.
The champion plays a very similar role as the champion used within the efficiency business model Six Sigma. The process contains five stages that are slightly similar to the innovation-decision process that individuals undertake.
Diffusion of Innovations has been applied beyond its original domains.