Key Constructs

Foundational Concepts and Stages of Diffusion

Diffusion - the process by which an innovation is communicated through certain channels over time among members of a social system

Dissemination - planned, systematic efforts to maximize the reach and adoption of new programs, strategies, or policies

Innovation - an idea, practice or object that is perceived as new by an individual or other unit of adoption

Communication Channels - means by which messages are spread, including mass media, interpersonal channels, and electronic communications

Social System - set of interrelated units that are engaged in joint problem solving to accomplish a common goal. Social systems have structure, including norms and leadership

Innovation Development - all the decisions and activities (and their impacts) that occur from the early stage of an idea to its development and production

Adoption - uptake of the program or innovation by the target audience

Implementation - the active, planned efforts to implement and innovation within a defined setting

Maintenance - the ongoing use of an innovation over time

Sustainability - the degree to which an innovation or program of change is continued after initial resources are expended

Institutionalization - incorporation of the program into the routines of an organization or broader policy and legislation

Important Factors in the Diffusion Process
Characteristics of Innovations

Relative advantage - is the innovation better than what was there before?

Compatibility - does the innovation fit with the intended audience?

Complexity - is the innovation easy to use?

Trialability - can the innovation be tried before making a decision to adopt?

Observability - are the results of the innovation visible and easily measurable?

Important Factors in the Diffusion Process
Characteristics of Individuals

Five adopter categories:

  • Innovators
  • Early Adopters
  • Early Majority Adopters
  • Late Majority Adopters
  • Laggards

Important Factors in the Diffusion Process
Features of the Setting

The decision process can be influenced by many different features of settings and organizations.

  • Geographical settings
  • Societal culture
  • Political conditions
  • Globalization and uniformity