Action research was not part of the DIMAR project’s research plan. However, we have sort of performed it a little bit by applying the old “eat your own dog food”-metaphora. I.e. if we want to understand social media usage in organizations, maybe we should play with some of the social media tools and channels too.
The first attempt was to use Google+ …did not work out too well. The second attempt was to set up DIMAR LinkedIn group.
This did work a bit better but was not able to gear enough traction neither…Well, let’s see if there exist any theory that would explain this. Oh yes, there it goes….good old diffusion of innovations!
First of all; the concepts of diffusion and adoption are essential topics to understand. From a firm’s point of view, adoption refers to the process where a customer makes decisions to buy or use products or services, whereas diffusion then arises from the customer’s adoption decisions (Narayanan, 2001). More precisely, diffusion has to do with the process “by which an innovation is communicated through certain channels over time among the members of social system” (Rogers, 2003, p. 5).
Adoption represents the positive outcome of a decision process that ranges between rejecting and accepting a proposed new solution – an adopter decides to make full use of an innovation as the best course of action available and the rate of adoption is then the relative speed with which an innovation is adopted by members of a social system (Rogers 2003).
If that sounds too theoretical, let’s draw a concrete example. The recent case study about Gapgemini’s Yammer adoption provides a clear message:
“a first phase, where the new service is encountered by a group of enthusiasts, the evolution process enters a stage where the initiative is at risk of failure, as the “newness” factor rubs off, while diffusion still has not been achieved. This is where the “hen or egg” problem kicks in, as potential adopters cannot see the value precisely because not enough people have adopted the service yet.”(p.13)
So, where do we go from here?…. Well, we can still give our LinkedIn group a second try, or just let it go to the place where quite many “yet another social media applications” have already gone. Your call!
Researcher/ project manager
Aalto-university, BIT Research Center
Narayanan, V. K. (2001). Managing technology and innovation for competitive advantage. Prentice-Hall Inc., USA.
Rogers, E.M. (2003). Diffusion of Innovations, 5th ed. Free Press, New York.