Diffusion of Innovations
Everett M. Rogers University of New Mexico
Arvind Singhal Ohio University
What is diffusion? Diffusion is the process by which an innovation is communicated through certain channels over time among the members of a social system ( Rogers, 1995). An innovation is an idea, practice, or object perceived as new by an individual or other unit of adoption. The diffusion process involves both mass media and interpersonal communication channels.
This chapter analyzes the research tradition of the diffusion of innovations, focusing on the origins of the diffusion paradigm, its methodological tenets, and its influence on communication research. We identify the distinctive aspects of diffusion research, detail the seminal Iowa hybrid seed corn study, explain the strengths and limitations of the dominant paradigm that guided diffusion study for several decades, and look into the future of diffusion research.
Several distinctive aspects of the diffusion of innovations set it off from other specialized fields of communication study.