Social adoption of innovation
thesisposted on 29.03.2022, 00:51 by Emil Badilescu-Buga
Successful adoption of innovation is critical to organisations’ ability to improve their performance, and produce better outcomes. As organisations are under increased pressure to adapt to changing conditions due to disruptive innovations, shifts in sociocultural patterns and public expectations, they need to use a strategic approach based on a deeper understanding of the adoption of innovation process. This interdisciplinary research project aims to identify the main factors that influence the process of adoption of innovation and propose a theoretical model that could later be used by organisations and individuals to take a more effective approach to adoption of innovations. In order to achieve these objectives, several studies have been conducted using a mixed research design that combines qualitative and quantitative research methodologies. In the first two studies, an extensive literature review covering over one hundred years was conducted to establish the genesis and the main characteristics of the current thinking on adoption of innovation, followed by an in-depth analysis of reported experiences related to adoption of online Learning Design technologies in education. The literature review identified a strong marketing bias in the current dominant model of adoption of innovation, which is mostly designed to address innovators’ concern around how to accelerate the adoption of their innovations by a large number of users, but with little insight into adopters’ motivations and needs. The second study identified patterns of adoption challenges in a variety of organisational and individual settings and across a wide range of educational jurisdictions in Australia and overseas. The results of these two studies have been used to create a new theoretical model of social adoption of innovation. The proposed model builds on the existing thinking on adoption of innovation, but with a new perspective. The fundamental hypothesis of this model is that adoption takes place in the context of three dimensions: social, cognitive and professional development. The model was named “social adoption of innovation” to reflect the observation that the social dimension has the strongest influence of the three. The model considers the challenges of finding information, understanding information and knowledge needs, overcoming cognitive obstacles, and acquiring professional skills, all of which are critical to the decision to adopt an innovation. The social adoption of innovation model offers an individual adopter’s perspective, in contrast to the current thinking which is mostly a marketing model representing the interest of the innovator. The third study examines the role of social connections in academic research based on analysis of references mentioned in research publications within the field of Learning Design. The study uses over eleven thousand links to generate several network graphs representing links between authors based on publication references using a method inspired by the field of social networks. The following in-depth research of the background history behind a selection of clustered links revealed a strong influence of the social connections on the selection of topics, adoption of ideas, emerging leadership and new fields of research. The fourth study is based on an interview conducted at a large metropolitan university with the participation of academic, research and other professional staff to enquire into personal experiences in the adoption of innovation at various stages of adoption. This study uses a combination of qualitative and quantitative methods to analyse the influence of the factors predicated by the social adoption of innovation theoretical model. The findings of the study confirm the strong influence of social factors on the way innovations are discovered, communicated, understood, learned, and adopted. The qualitative analysis also revealed unexpected aspects that could be considered in future research studies. The overall findings of this project support the model of social adoption of innovation. In contrast to the mainstream thinking based on the model of diffusion of innovation, the social adoption of innovation model emphasises the individual perspective, placing individual concerns at the centre of the adoption of innovation process. This research project found that individual motivation, personal and professional needs, knowledge behaviour, and social relationships have a significant impact on the process of adoption of innovation. Moreover, the individual can display different behaviours depending on the innovation being adopted and the stage of adoption, regardless of the application domain. This research found that adoption of innovation in early stages is associated with concurrent innovation: individuals innovate with innovations that are at an early stage. In addition, the study found that communities of practice are essential to innovation and adoption of innovation at early stages, more than the ubiquitous digital social networks. The Findings and Discussions chapters describe the ramifications of these findings, potential risks posed by social networks and new technologies that can have a high social impact, and consider new approaches to education and adoption of innovation in institutions.