The ability to understand the salient aspects of innovations, as perceived by the members of a social system, is essential to the success of planned change. The diffusion of information technology in the public sector provides the opportunity to apply the appropriateness of diffusion theory in a combined context of information technology and public policy innovation. Past studies support the salience of diffusion theory and the adoption of information technology (Attewell, 1992; Brancheau & Wetherbe, 1990; Chau & Tam, 1997; Cooper & Zmud, 1990; Damanpour, 1991; Fichman, 1992; Swanson, 1994; Tornatzky & Fleischer, 1990). Other studies suggest that existing theory in public policy adoption adequately provide a framework to guide research in technology adoption in the public sector (Akers, 2006; Berman & Martin, 1992; Berry, 1994; Berry & Berry, 1990; Glick & Hays, 1991; Gray, 1973; Hays, 1996; Hwang & Gray, 1991; Mintrom, 1997; Rogers, 1962; True & Mintrom, 2001; Walker, 1969; Welch & Thompson, 1980) However, there is little research that combines both frameworks for understanding the adoption of information technology in public organizations or within political subdivisions. Using classical diffusion theory, information technology adoption, and public policy adoption theory, there is sufficient contextual relevance of these theories to guide research in the adoption of public information technology in public organizations and political subdivisions.
Key Terms in this Chapter
Innovation-Decision Process: The mental process through which an individual passes from first knowledge about an innovation to forming an attitude toward the innovation, to a final decision to adoption or rejection, to implementation and use of the new idea, and to confirmation of this decision.
Determinants Model of Policy Adoption: Recognizes the demographic, economic and political factors affect the rate of adoption of public policy within a political boundary.
Regionalism Model of Policy Adoption: Recognizes that the process of competition and emulation affects the pace and direction of the adoption of social and political change in the American states.
Innovation: An idea, practice, or object that is perceived as new by an individual or other unit of adoption.
Diffusion Process: The adoption over time of an innovation by individuals linked by specific channels of communications to a social structure given to a system of values or culture.
Technology Determinism: Emphasizes the belief that technology causes changes in society.
Innovativeness: The degree to which an individual or other unit of adoption is relatively earlier in adopting new ideas than the other members of a social system.
Federalism Model of Policy Adoption: Recognizes that rate of adoption of public policy in a federal system is both horizontal (that is, state to state) and vertical (that is, federal to state or state to local) and federal mandates and funding have a positive impact on the rate of public policy adoption.