Innovation Diffusion and Innovation Decision Process Model

Innovation diffusion uses an approach in which the decision to adopt new technology is mainly based on perceptions of the technology within the decision-making unit (Rogers 1995; Tatnall & Burgess 2004). IDPM was based on communication theory, where the innovation was communicated to the audience (potential adopters). IDPM could be viewed as the adoption part of the Diffusion of Innovation model by Rogers (Seligman 2000). The IDPM stages as depicted in Figure 1., defined by Rogers (1995) are:

  • Knowledge. The decision-making unit is exposed to the existence of innovation. In this case the innovation could be new hardware, software, methodology, or tools. The main activity in this stage is cognitive (knowing). The knowledge about innovation might come through different communication channels. It could be in the form of advertising, word of mouth, formal education or training. Hassinger argues that the knowledge-finding activity is not a passive exercise (cited in Rogers 1995). The knowledge-finding activity would be initiated when the need for innovation exists.
  • Persuasion. The decision-making unit forms an opinion toward the innovation. This opinion could be favourable or unfavourable. The main activity in this stage is affective (feeling). The decision-making unit would actively seek information about the innovation of concern before developing an opinion.
  • Decision. The decision-making unit decides either to reject (rejection) or accept (adoption) the innovation. Usually, the decision to adopt or reject would be made based on a trial period. The result would determine either to adopt or reject the innovation. External parties might be involved by providing an opportunity to demonstrate the innovation.
  • Implementation. The decision-making unit actually uses the innovation. This is where the activities shift from strictly mental to real action. It would involve behaviour change due to the implementation. In this stage, the decision-making unit would discover whether the initial knowledge and perception of innovation were true or not. The implementation stage would end when innovation becomes an integrated part of the adopter’s life or the innovation perceived as useless.
  • Confirmation. The decision-making unit confirms or reverses the decision to reject or adopt the innovation made in the previous stage. The reason for this change is that information received about innovation may have conflicted with the previous beliefs.


Figure 1. Innovation–Decision Process Model (adopted from Rogers 1995)

IDPM also incorporates the conditions prior to the knowledge stage that influence the knowledge stage. These conditions are previous practices, the need to be fulfilled or the problem to be solved, innovativeness of the decision-making unit, and the norms of the social systems. IDPM assumes that the adoption process is continuous (Rogers 1995). A decision to adopt or reject an innovation could be changed in the future if more knowledge and persuasion become available to the decision-making unit. It also could change due to the realities faced during the implementation process.

IDPM has been used to study IT adoption. IDPM has been used to find factors affecting IT adoption in general (Everdingen & Wierenga 2002; Knol & Stroeken 2001; Premkumar & Ramamurthy 1995; Premkumar & Roberts 1999; Waarts, Everdingen & Hillegersberg 2002; Wong 2003), EDI adoption (Angeles et al. 2001; Jimenez-Martinez & Polo-Redondo 2004), computer technology adoption in less developed countries (Al-Gahtani 2003; Anandarajan, Igbaria & Anakwe 2002; Utomo & Dodgson 2001), senior IS managers’ adoption of new computing architectures (Bajaj 2000), and adoption of web service standards (Chen 2003). Others have studied the relationship between the level of internet adoption and competitive advantage (Teo & Pian 2003), general IT diffusion patterns (Teng, Grover & Guttler 2002), and the role of change agents in IT adoption (Elsammani, Hackney & Scown 2003). The research in IT adoption uses Rogers’s IDPM stages to find factors influencing the whole adoption process within a particular context or to explain the role of a particular factor in a particular adoption process (Akkeren & Harker 2002; Al-Gahtani 2003; Chau 2001; Fink 1998; Sharma & Rai 2003).

In IDPM, it is assumed that every innovation is desirable and therefore rejection of innovation would be considered as resistance to change (McMaster & Kautz 2002; Robertson, Swan & Newell 1996). The reality is that not every innovation is embraced by the community, as Rogers himself (1995) pointed out in the Persuasion stage. The innovation characteristics of relative advantage, compatibility, triability, and observability would influence the opinions of the decision-making unit toward the innovation.

Within the IDPM model depicted in Figure 2.2, Rogers portrayed the implementation stage when the decision to adopt was made; however, the real action of implementation was not the focus of this theory. Instead, the focus is more on the communication of information regarding the innovation to the adopter that might change the perception toward innovation. The emphasis on the communication process implies that the adoption is achieved when the decision to accept the innovation is made.

IDPM explains the adoption of innovation on an individual level very well, but not at the organisational level. Most studies using IDPM assume that organisations are at the same level of granularity as an individual level. The consequence of this assumption is that the interaction among individuals within an organisation as an integrated unit has been ignored.


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