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Diffusion of Innovation

  • Date Submitted: 10/18/2010 06:45 PM
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            - is a theory of how, why, and at what rate new ideas and technology spread through cultures.

Diffusion research goes one step further than two-step flow theory. The original diffusion research was done as early as 1903 by the French sociologist Gabriel Tarde who plotted the original S-shaped diffusion curve. Tardes' 1903 S-shaped curve is of current importance because "most innovations have an S-shaped rate of adoption" (Rogers, 1995).

Rogers defines an innovation as "an idea, practice, or object that is perceived as new by an individual or other unit of adoption".
Communication channels
A communication channel is "the means by which messages get from one individual to another".
"The innovation-decision period is the length of time required to pass through the innovation-decision process". "Rate of adoption is the relative speed with which an innovation is adopted by members of a social system".
Social system
"A social system is defined as a set of interrelated units that are engaged in joint problem solving to accomplish a common goal".

Innovators are the first individuals to adopt an innovation. Innovators are willing to take risks, youngest in age, have the highest social class, have great financial lucidity, very social and have closest contact to scientific sources and interaction with other innovators. Risk tolerance has them adopting technologies which may ultimately fail. Financial resources help absorb these failures.
Opinion Leaders
This is the second fastest category of individuals who adopt an innovation. These individuals have the highest degree of opinion leadership among the other adopter categories.   Opinion Leaders are typically younger in age, have a higher social status, have more financial lucidity, advanced education, and are more socially forward than late adopters. More discrete in adoption...


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