Five Steps in Adoption: Diffusion research identifies five main steps in the innovation decision process which occur in a time ordered sequence

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.[1] 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.[2] Confirmation occurs after implementation when the user “seeks reinforcement of an innovation decision that has already been made.”[3] With added experience, users can reject using the innovation directly by abandonment (discontinuance) or indirectly by moving to another practice.


[1]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.

[2]Ibid., 20-21. For information on the role of homophily in adoption, see Ibid., 286-290.

[3]Ibid., 20-21.

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