Technology Adoption Theories

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2.1 Theories on Technological Adoption At the core of this research is the need to understand how both mobile phones and the software applications created for the device are diffused and adopted in the context of a developing country. Mobile phones have achieved incredibly high levels of adoption in developing countries, despite low levels of penetration of older ICTs. There are extensive interpretations in the ways new technology is adopted and used by individuals. As this thesis will be exploring the role of technology in a developing country, this poses specific challenges to most theories of technology adoption. Several mainstream technology adoption models will be explored and critiqued to provide a sound theoretical basis of analyzing…show more content…
Rogers. For Rogers, innovation refers to an idea, object or practice that is perceived by the adopter as new. Diffusion refers to the channels in which this technology spreads over time through social networks. In this theory, technology adoption occurs in a time sequence amongst individuals in a population. (Rogers 1982, 241) Adoption follows a bell-shaped curve, as individuals, due to their levels of innovativeness, choose to use a new technology. Adopters can be divided into 5 categories along the bell curve, starting with innovators, who have the capability and willingness to try an untested technology. Early adopters represent the next segment of the population that begin to use an innovation. This segment represents a key level of acceptance and has social status to give opinion on the technology for the other segments. The next two segments hold the bulk of the population are and labelled the early majority and the late majority. These categories represent individuals with various level of scepticism in using a new technology and thus are slower to adopt. The last group is labelled the laggards or sceptics and is those that are last to adopt an innovation. They represent an extremely localized and past-looking group, unwilling to accept change. (Rogers 1982,…show more content…
However, these theoretical frameworks are modelled on the realities of technology in the developed world. Prevailing research has primarily focused on cases in developed or rapidly emerging economies, such as the Asian Tigers. Theoretical understanding of technology adoption in developing countries is limited, due to a lack of literature, lack of evaluation and small number of case studies to draw from. (Heeks 2002, 102) These frameworks do not take into account the barriers and factors that are specific to the way technology is imported and diffused in a developing country context. These theories fail to address the question of basic access or pressing barriers faced in the developing world, such as spatial differences in population density, infrastructure, distance, integration with markets and a lack of research and development. Thus, this study will utilize the highlighted approaches to technology adoption and also keep in mind the theoretical gaps in the literature. It is crucial to leave space for developing country specific realities when it comes to understanding technology

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