The Diffusion of Innovation, 5th ed by Everett Rogers

Chapter 10 – Innovation in Organizations

  • The innovation-decision process in organizations is much more complex. It involves a number of individuals including both champions and opponents. Choice to adopt can be optional, made by a consensus among members, or made by those in authority. Sometimes the decision to adopt is contingent on a prior decision. One cannot decide to use an innovation until the organization purchases it.

Organizational Properties

  • An organization is a stable system of individuals who work together to achieve common goals. A predictable organizational structure is obtained through: predetermined goals, prescribed roles, an authority and rules and regulations. There are also informal patterns the include practices, norms, and social relationships among the members. They emerge over time and fulfill an important function. Some organizations work via the Internet and function as virtual organizations.

Size and Organizational Innovativeness

  • Larger organizations tend to be more innovative. This may seem surprising, given the conventional wisdom that smaller companies are more flexible. While little study has been conducted to explain this size is probably a surrogate measure of dimensions that lead to innovation such as total resources, resources that are not needed for ongoing operations, employees’ technical expertise, and organizational structure.


  • This is the degree to which power and control are concentrated in the hands of a few. This has been found to be negatively associated with innovation. In centralized organizations the top leaders are poorly positioned to identify operational-level problems or to suggest innovative solutions. Such organizations can, however, encourage the implementation of an innovation once a decision has been made to adopt.

The Role of Champions

  • The presence of an innovation champion contributes to the success of an innovation in an organization. Champions are charismatic individuals who throw their weight behind an innovation, thus overcoming indifference or resistance. Champions who oppose adoption can prevent it. Champions are often middle manages who occupy a key linking position with staff. They possess analytical and intuitive skills, understand individual aspirations, and have well-honed interpersonal and negotiating skills. People skills are more important than power in many cases.

Stages in the Innovation Process Initiation Stage

  • Agenda Setting: A general organizational problem is defined that creates the need for an innovation. Needs, problems, and issues bubble up through the system and are prioritized for attention. A performance gap can trigger the process. Matching: This is the stage where a problem from the organization’s agenda is fit with an innovation. The planning includes anticipation of benefits and problems.

Stages in the Innovation Process Implementation Stage

  • Redefining/Restructuring: The innovation is re-invented so as to accommodate the organization’s needs and structure more closely. Both innovation and organization generally change.
  • Clarifying: The occurs as the innovation is put into more widespread use in an organization, so that the meaning becomes clearer to the members. The meaning of an innovation is constructed over time through a social process.
  • Routinizing: This happens when an innovation has become incorporated into the regular activities of the organization and has lost is separate identity. If members change an innovation as they adopt it, they begin to regard it as their own.
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