C. Five Steps in
Adoption: Diffusion research identifies
five main steps in the innovation decision process which occur in a time
ordered sequence: knowledge, persuasion,
decision, implementation and
confirmation. For the potential adopter, the purpose of the process is to
decrease uncertainty and anxiety about the innovation. Knowledge begins the process with an awareness of the existence of
the innovation and some understanding of how it works; mass media channels can
share knowledge on what an innovation is and how it works. Persuasion is the formation of an attitude, favorable or
unfavorable, toward the innovation; persuasion deals with the use, advantages
and disadvantages of the innovation in the user’s personal situation. Useful
information from this stage forward is more likely to be conveyed through
subjective opinions of interpersonal networks of homophilous near-peers. High
empathy, however, creates a homophilous kinship that overcomes other
differences. Decision involves the choice to adopt or reject the innovation. At implementation the adopter puts the
innovation to use; re-invention is an
important part of this stage of adoption.
Confirmation occurs after
implementation when the user “seeks reinforcement of an innovation decision
that has already been made.”
With added experience, users can reject using the innovation directly by
abandonment (discontinuance) or indirectly by moving to another practice.
Ibid., 19. McGavran’s ethnic principle of homogeneity is better explained by Rogers’ communication principle of homophily. It’s not homogeniety that is important for change but the conversations that homogeneity and homophily allow between individuals who find communication rewarding. For information on the decision process in adoption, see Rogers, Diffusion of Innovations, 161-203.
Ibid., 20-21. For information on the role of homophily in adoption, see Ibid., 286-290.