Ohio Speech Journal
The study of the diffusion of innovations attempts to understand how new things or ideas, after a period of time, become widely adopted throughout a group or society.
Everett Rogers (1983), one of the pioneers in this area of research, sees the diffusion process as essential to understanding social change. Diffusion, as Rogers sees it, is essentially a communication activity. Accordingly, social change consists of the introduction of something new - invention, followed by the process of diffusing the invention - this is done through all forms of communication, and finally the process ends with some type of "consequence," or effect. The largest body of research in this area focuses on the adoption of new farming methods. The need to expand crop yields for a growing world population has been a primary goal of many nations. At the same time, farmers work their fields with numerous threats to their livelihood - bad weather, disease, and drought - they are not likely to add to that risk by going with new or unproven ideas. However, they have adopted new ideas over time, so studying the process and in turn, speeding-up the channels in that process, has proved to be quite successful.
Copyright © 1993, Ohio Association of College Teachers of Speech
Ohio Association of College Teachers of Speech
Skill, Thomas D., "The Diffusion of Innovations: A Review and Explication of Central Concepts" (1993). Communication Faculty Publications. 46.