DIFFUSION OF INNOVATIONS THEORY
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).
Diffusion of innovation model, Rogers (1995)
The diffusion of innovations according to Rogers. With successive groups of consumers adopting the new technology (shown in blue), its market share (yellow) will eventually reach the saturation level. In mathematics the S curve is known as the logistic function.
Scope and Application
Diffusion research has focused on five elements: (1) the characteristics of an innovation which may influence its adoption; (2) the decision-making process that occurs when individuals consider adopting a new idea, product or practice; (3) the characteristics of individuals that make them likely to adopt an innovation; (4) the consequences for individuals and society of adopting an innovation; and (5) communication channels used in the adoption process.
Rogers, E.M. (1976). New Product Adoption and Diffusion. Journal of Consumer Research, 2 (March), 290 -301.
Rogers, E.M. (1995). Diffusion of innovations (4th edition). The Free Press. New York.
Pijpers, R.E., Montfort, van, K. & Heemstra, F.J. (2002). Acceptatie van ICT: Theorie en een veldonderzoek onder topmanagers. Bedrijfskunde, 74,4.