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Diffusion of Innovation Theory

             There is a broadly accepted area of study which is appropriately named Diffusion of Innovation Theory (DOI theory). Before continuing, an appropriate definition of Diffusion of Innovation is needed. In his book Diffusion of Innovation, Everett Rogers defines diffusion as the process by which an innovation is communicated through certain channels over time among the members of a social system (Everett Rogers 1995). .
             This social psychological theory describes the patterns of adoption, explains the mechanisms by which they occur, and assists in predicting whether a new invention will be successful. In its early stages, DOI theory was limited to experts in one specific field, examining and evaluating the diffusion of a process which was relevant to their specialization. For example, medical sociologists would look at new technologies occurring in health care and record the general rates of adoption, at the same time education researchers would study the spread of new teaching methodologies and its inevitable diffusion throughout the school system (Roger Clarke 1999).
             The early ideas about the diffusion of innovation can be traced back to the beginning of the century in German - Austrian and British schools in Anthropology as well as a French sociologist, Gabriel Tarde, who is responsible for the S-shaped curve which shows the level of adoption verses time for an innovation. Even though this is where the idea started the diffusion of innovation were further developed in 1943 by Bryce Ryan and Neil Gross of Iowa State University. The theory traces the process by which a new idea or practice is communicated through certain channels over time among members of a social system. It describes the factors that influence people's thoughts and actions and the process of adopting a new technology or idea. Bryce Ryan and Neal Gross published a study dealing with Iowa farmers. The study focused on the diffusion and adoption of a new type of corn seed to be planted in Iowa fields.

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