Middle Adopters (Early Majority) or Pragmatists

Section Four: Middle Adopters (Early Majority) or Pragmatists

Pastor: There’s a light bulb burnt out in the sanctuary. Can you help?

Middle Adopter: Sure. (Gets ladder, puts new bulb in.)


A. Middle Adopters as pragmatists provide interconnectedness in the system’s interpersonal networks. The innovation spreads from the Innovators at 2.5% to the Early Adopters at 13.5% and then into the Early Majority at 34%. Rogers notes that Middle Adopters interact frequently with their peers but seldom hold positions of opinion leadership in a system.[1] They follow the opinion leaders willingly but slowly and deliberate all aspects of the innovation before adopting. Rogers notes an apt proverb for the Early Majority: “Be not the first by which the new is tried, Nor the last to lay the old aside.”[2]

B. Middle Adopters are generally non-anxious. They are not narcissistic or egotistical, so they generally have healthy relationships with people. Middle Adopters are good team players and kind team leaders. Middle Adopters are comfortable in all types of churches. Middle Adopters avoid anxiety and can be codependent overfunctioners; they can be manipulated by the anxiety of others. Anxiety provokes a thermostat correction in systems which prevents change.

C. Middle Adopters have a practical focus. Middle Adopters want to keep things running smoothly, as one positive experience follows another.[3] Middle Adopters desire the simplest effective solution to a problem. Middle Adopters have potential to be “level five leaders.”[4] Middle Adopters are willing to wash feet, carry a cross without grandiosity, and to do what is necessary for a system to flourish. Middle Adopters will find a way to get things done.

[1]Rogers, Diffusion of Innovations, 265. Contrary to Rogers, Moore perceives Middle Adopters as the primary decision makers in adoption. Moore, Crossing the Chasm, 19, 41-45, 55-59.

[2]Rogers, Diffusion of Innovations, 265.

[3]This is described as the “flywheel” rather than the “doom loop” in Jim Collins, Good To Great: Why Some Companies Make The Leap . . . And Others Don’t (New York: HarperCollins, 2001), 164-187. The prior steps in the Good to Great change model prepare the innovation to cross the chasm and achieve critical mass; change thereafter is by flywheel incrementalism.

[4] Jim Collins, Good To Great, 17-40.

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