Innovation Diffusion and E-Collaboration: The Effects of Social Proximity on Social Information Processing

Innovation Diffusion and E-Collaboration: The Effects of Social Proximity on Social Information Processing

Shaila M. Miranda, Pamela E. Carter
Copyright: © 2005 |Pages: 23
DOI: 10.4018/jec.2005070103
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Organizational arrangements such as telework are often believed to disrupt workers’ social networks. This raises a concern regarding teleworkers’ abilities to adjust to technological changes in organizations. Based on innovation diffusion theory, this chapter considers telework and interdependence as parallel dimensions of social proximity that may be expected to affect the diffusion of innovation in terms of users’ social information processing (i.e., their technology beliefs, communication channels, and information sources). This proposition is investigated in a field-study conducted during the migration of a business unit to a new communications system. Technology users at the business unit were surveyed three times over a 12-week period—right before the conversion to the new system and at two six-week intervals following the conversion. These surveys assessed the impact of telework on respondents’ beliefs toward the communication technology. Findings partially supported our hypotheses regarding the negative effect of remoteness on beliefs about technology. Users were then surveyed to investigate the media and sources they utilized to stay informed about the new technology. As anticipated, telework was related to an increased use of electronic media and of individual and authority information sources. Contrary to our expectations, though, results indicated a positive effect of telework on the use of collective sources and face-to-face media. Therefore, we conclude that teleworkers make a special effort to preserve their social networks.

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