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An Investigation of Theories of Diffusion in the Global Context

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ABSTRACTINTRODUCTIONCountry Selection and RationaleTHEORETICAL FRAMEWORKTheoretical Rationale – Use DiffusionTheories of DiffusionEvolutionary TheoryLeapfrogging TheoryStructural TheoryAgentic TheoryOur Study<< Insert Figure 1 Here>>CONCEPTUALIZATION AND OPERATIONALIZATION OF TECHNOLOGY USE AND DETERMINANTSUse-Diffusion Patterns<< Insert Table 1 Here >>Determinants of Use Diffusion<< Insert Table 2 Here >>Communication PatternsUsage Barriers/FacilitatorsHousehold StructureTechnological StructureAttitudinal Beliefs<< Insert Table 3 Here >>USE-DIFFUSION MODEL AND DIFFUSION THEORIESSAMPLING AND DATA COLLECTIONRESULTSPreliminary Analyses<< Insert Table 4 Here >><< Insert Table 5 Here >><< Insert Table 6 Here >>Drivers of Use Diffusion<< Insert Table 7 Here >>Hypotheses Testing<< Insert Table 8 Here >>DISCUSSIONCONCLUSIONTable 3: Summary of HypothesesTable 4: Computer Ownership, User and Use InformationTable 5: Diffusion of Computer in the HomeTable 6: Ownership of Related TechnologiesTable 7: Means of Independent Variables and Multiple Comparison TestsTable 8: Standardized Regression CoefficientsFigure 1: Models of Use DiffusionREFERENCESAn Investigation of Theories of Diffusion in the Global Context: A Comparative Study of the US, Sweden and India Alladi Venkatesh* Professor and Associate Director Center for Research for Information Technology and Organization (CRITO) University of California 3200 Berkeley Place Irvine, CA 92697-4650 Phone: (949) 824-1134 E-mail: [email protected] Chuan-Fong Shih Assistant Professor Babcock Graduate School of Management Wake Forest University Winston-Salem, NC 27109 Phone: (336) 758-4572 E-mail: [email protected] November 2005 (This paper was written as part of ongoing research under Project NOAH II and POINT Project at the Center for Research Technology (CRITO), University of California, Irvine. We acknowledge the financial support received from the National Science Foundation NSF grant Nos. IRI 9619695 and SES-0121232, the CRITO Industry Consortium, and Ericsson, Electrolux, and Vattenfall from Sweden.) * Contact Author 1An Investigation of Theories of Diffusion in the Global Context: A Comparative Study of the US, Sweden and India ABSTRACT This is a study of computer/Internet diffusion in the household sector in the U.S., Sweden, and India. We investigated how different theories of diffusion (evolutionary, leapfrogging, structural, and agentic) account for the cross-country data. We found that no one particular theory accounts for all the developments, and all four theories apply in varying degrees. 2INTRODUCTION Recently, there has been much interest among marketing and management scholars in technology diffusion in the global context (Corracher and Ordanini 2002; Ganesh and Kumar 1996; Ganesh, Kumar, and Subramaniam 1997; Putsis et al. 1997; Tellis, Stremersch, and Yin 2003; Woolcott and Goodman 2003). The focus on global diffusion has become even more intense with the emergence of the Internet (ITU 2002). According to some authors, the Internet technologies seem to be diffusing across different countries more rapidly than any other technology in recent memory (Castells 2001; Chen and Bellman 2003). One common approach to the study of diffusion globally is country-level analyses using such factors as national wealth, technology investment, and supporting infrastructures (e.g., Caselli and Coleman 2001; Dewan and Kraemer 2000). Comparative studies at the micro consumer level have been rather infrequent, although some country-specific studies have begun to appear in the literature using secondary data (Corracher and Ordanini 2002; Lombardi 2001,). Some prior research suggests that country differences play a key role in decisions regarding technology adoption in organizational settings (Keil et al. 2000). Along the same lines, it would be interesting from a theoretical and empirical standpoint to see if such differences exist in the consumer sector. Our study is intended to fill this gap that exists at the micro-consumer/household level, which is very relevant to the marketing field. This paper reports an investigation of computer/Internet diffusion in the household sector across three countries—the U.S., Sweden, and India—by employing a use-diffusion model (Shih and Venkatesh 2004). A main purpose of the study is to investigate how different theories of diffusion (evolutionary, leapfrogging, structural, and agentic) account for the cross-country data. Although our analysis is focused on the diffusion of computers and the Internet in the home, the 3concepts presented here can easily be extended to a host of other technologies intended for home consumption such as smart appliances, personal digital assistants, or networked home entertainment systems. Specifically, the following research questions are addressed: − What are the use-diffusion patterns among the households in the three countries selected for the study: the U.S., Sweden, and India? What are the similarities and differences? − What theories of diffusion account for the differences and similarities between the three countries? − What structural factors account for our findings? − What are the marketing implications of our findings? The study is motivated by two important theoretical and empirical considerations. First, given that existing theories of diffusion point to specific structural elements that facilitate adoption and use, the question is what is the relative emphasis of these elements in different global conditions? For example, Appadurai (1996) calls our attention to simultaneous homogenization and heterogenization, while Matei (2004) refers to the tension between globalization and localization. In other words, for our purposes, how do the different theories and adoption processes vary across the three countries selected for the study and why? The answer to this question is relevant to marketers because with the global diffusion of new technologies, they need to make complex decisions regarding product introductions and, consequently, patterns of adoption and diffusion become important inputs into such decision-making processes (Ziamou and Ratneshwar 2002). Second, the current literature on diffusion, as significant as it is, implies but does not specifically address that there is no single theory of diffusion that can explain the empirical trends adequately; different theories seem to account for 4the diffusion


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