The diffusion of innovation theory is defined as the means by which a new idea is spread and adopted by people ( Hayden, 2009). The theory was first, used in the 1950s to understand how farmers in Iowa adopted the use of hybrid corn seeds (Hayden, 2009, p. 93). The society of farmers in Iowa on average took 7 years to switch to hybrid corn although the hybrid seeds increased crop yields and produced hardier, drought-resistant corn (Hayden, 2009). The length of time for adoption shows positive improvements in farming but does not guarantee an immediate change in farming procedure. The four constructs of diffusion of innovation; Innovation, Communication Channels, Time and Social System help explain the farmers slow adaptation to change to using the new innovation of hybrid corn.
Diffusion of Innovation constructs
Innovation is something new. When an idea is new and unfamiliar the product may take longer to adopt. There are 5 steps in the innovation process for making a decision. The first step is Knowledge of the product. The second step is Persuasion. The novelty of hybrid corn seeds may persuade some farmer to try the product, but how the product is introduce to the farmer may have more of an influence. Knowing the product exist is not enough to change ones behavior in adopting a new product.
Communication channels addresses how the hybrid seed information is made aware to the farmers. The knowledge obtains from mass communication channels such as newspapers, television or word of mouth from other farmers, helps farmers form their own perceptive or attitude toward adopting a new idea. The information the farmers gather will compare the overall benefits of adopting a new product. In the persuasion process the farmers will compare the compatibility of adopting the new product with their existing farming procedures, the complexity and cost of the adoption, the trialability will allow for observation of production. The decision to act is the third stage, which allows the farmers to weigh the pros and the cons and decide to adopt the new innovation or reject it. Once the decision has been made to try out the new hybrid seeds, the fourth stage; implementation process has occurred. Confirmation is the final stage of the innovation-decision process. Adopting or rejecting the product has been made in the form of a confirmation.
Time. The construct of time is defined by how long it takes for “the innovation-decision process to occur, and the rate at which different segments of the social system adopt the innovation”. Following the innovation-decision process does not always signify an adoption of a new innovation. The hybrid corn may have a relative advantage over non hybrid corn because of its production of higher yields and drought resistance, although adopting the hybrid corn may seem beneficial; the decision to adopt and then implement a new product may still be delayed or rejected. The farmers own beliefs, education level or...