Adoption And Diffusion Essay

2103 words - 8 pages

Adoption and Diffusion

"The emergence of the basic paradigm for early diffusion research [was] created by two rural sociologists at Iowa State University, Bryce Ryan and Neal C. Gross" and gained recognition when they "published the results of their hybrid corn study"(Valente and Rogers, 1995, paragraph 1 ) in 1943. Post World War II agriculture experienced a boom in "technological innovation" and "as a result…U.S. farms became business enterprises rather than family-subsistence units…concerned with productivity, efficiency, competitiveness, and agricultural innovations"(Valente and Rogers, 1995, paragraph 11 ). These concerns lead to many agricultural studies based on the diffusion paradigm developed by Ryan and Gross. In their studies, Ryan and Gross were able to show that diffusion was a "social process through which subjective evaluations of an innovation spread from earlier to later adopters rather than one of rational, economic decision making" (Valente and Rogers, 1995, paragraph 22 ). From this they developed the paradigm for diffusion research, consisting of four parts: "(1) the innovation-decision process for an individual farmer, including the sequential stages of awareness, trial, and adoption; (2) the roles of information sources/channels about the innovation; (3) the S-shaped rate of adoption, a curve that was tested as to whether it fit a normal distribution; and (4) the personal, economic, and social characteristics of various adopter categories (i.e., classification of individuals on the basis of their relative earliness in adopting an innovation)"(Valente and Rogers, 1995, paragraph 23) Gabriel Tarde, a French sociologist in the early 1900s, "identified the S-shaped curve of the rate of adoption of an innovation, the role of social status, and opinion leadership in the diffusion process" (Valente and Rogers, 1995, paragraph 12 ). Ryan and Gross’ hybrid corn study based on the diffusion of innovations theory helped "rural sociologists…gain favor and support from their university administrators. Diffusion research fit well with the dominant norm on increasing agricultural production"(Valente and Rogers, 1995, paragraph 10 ). Later the acceptance of the diffusion theory would be accelerated when the Subcommittee for the Study of Diffusion of Farm Practices, of the North Central Rural Sociology Committee "helped form an invisible college of rural sociological diffusion researchers in the midwestern state universities in the 1950s and the 1960s (Valente and Rogers, 1995, paragraph 5 ). Until the 1960s, only rural sociologists were interested in the diffusion paradigm but it "spread to other scientific specialties, such as public health, economics, geography, marketing, political science, and communication"(Valente and Rogerss, 1995, paragraph 14 ). Everett M. Rogers's publication (1962) Diffusion of Innovations synthesized diffusion "research results in rural sociology (and in education, anthropology, and other fields)…and...

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