diffusion of innovations
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diffusion of innovationsthe adoption, and the social processes involved in the adoption, of technical innovations, new fashions, etc. One focus has been on the social and psychological characteristics of those who adopt innovations. Thus, Rogers (1983) proposed a three-stage model in which a relatively small number of people attuned to new developments in a field initially adopt the innovation, paving the way for the innovation to be adopted, in the medium-term, by a broad majority of the relevant population, but leaving a group of conservatives who either ignore or actively resist the innovation. A further focus is on ‘innovative forms’ (the extent of innovation involved in particular innovations, e.g. ‘incremental’, ‘radical’, ‘technology systems’, and ‘technoeconomic paradigm’ innovations in microprocessor technology) and on technical characteristics of the innovation which influence its range of application and take-up, e.g. while in the 1980s, 60% of all manufacturing establishments reported using microtechnology at some point in the production process, only 12.5% had incorporated such technology in their products (Northcott, 1988). Wider cultural and political factors, e.g. economic conditions, management strategies, traditions of industrial relations, also shape the detailed take-up of new technology
Collins Dictionary of Sociology, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2000