Adoption Process and Complexity of Innovation in Social NetworkingKarol I. Pelc
Paper presented at the 20th Annual International Conference on Industry, Engineering, and Management Systems,
Cocoa Beach, FL, March 23 -26, 2014
The purpose of this paper is to introduce a new approach to analysis of innovation adoption that is applicable to innovation in social networking. This approach combines measures of innovation adoption with dimensions of technology complexity. Innovation adoption is viewed in the context of innovation diffusion, usually measured by the rate of adoption expressed by the number of adopters vs. time or by penetration rate within given population. Those measures are based on statistics of product/process/system acquisition events. However each individual adopter needs to complete the adoption process to fully benefit of innovation. It implies that adoption of innovation should not be viewed just as an event but rather as a learning process. Hence the phases of that process need to be identified and assessed in terms of dynamics of learning. Six basic phases of adoption of innovation in social networking are proposed. On basis of literature review and available empirical data, a new dimension called “interactivity level” is proposed and defined. It is specific to innovations in social networking, where the main purpose of innovation is to improve interactive communication among actors in a network. The interactivity level reflects amount of active knowledge and effective use of social media/technologies. Surveys of social media users and comparative study of average interactivity levels in different countries demonstrate application of that dimension. Complexity of innovation being subject of adoption may be a factor influencing the adoption. It is suggested that three dimensions of technology complexity: multiplicity, diversity, and interconnectedness (introduced by M. Jacobs) could be applied in analysis of the adoption process of innovation in social networking.