The diffusion of an innovation is a process of managing communication.

Section Two: Effective Communication


A. The diffusion of an innovation is a process of managing communication. Mass media channels help create an awareness of an innovation and tend to inform Innovators and Early Adopters. Adoption beyond visionary minority, however, is relational, interpersonal and requires conversation: . . . interpersonal channels are more effective in persuading an individual to accept new ideas, especially if the interpersonal channel links two or more individuals who are similar in socioeconomic status, education, or other important ways. Interpersonal channels involve a face-to-face exchange between two or more individuals

. . . most people depend mainly upon a subjective evaluation of an innovation that is conveyed to them from other individuals like themselves who have previously adopted the innovation. The dependence on the experience of near peers suggests that the heart of the diffusion process consists of the modeling and imitation by potential adopters of their network partners who have adopted previously. So diffusion is a very social process.[1]

B. The innovation decision process is essentially an information-seeking and information-processing activity in which the individual is motivated to reduce uncertainty about the advantages and disadvantages of the innovation. The main questions asked are about what the innovation is and how and why it works. The information required for adoption, however, is about the consequences of adoption and the relative advantages or disadvantages in the potential adopter’s situation.[2]

[1]Rogers, Diffusion of Innovations, 18.

[2]Ibid., 14. Rogers prefers to use logical terms like “reducing uncertainty” rather than emotional terms like “reducing anxiety.” Reducing anxiety plays a significant role in the family systems approach to change.

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