Dynamics of social factors in technological substitutions

in Technological Forecasting and Social Change, 74 (5)

ISSN : 0040-1625

Dattée, Brice (1977-...) ; Weil, Henry

Voir la revue «Technological Forecasting and Social Change»

Purpose - To examine the social dynamics of technology diffusion and substitution.

Design/methodology/approach - Considers that the accepted diffusion theories concerning technological diffusion through epidemic communications fit history, but offer too passive a social view through not fully considering technological substitution interactions. Argues that a more complex framework is appropriate.

Findings - Develops this through considering macro-level aspects of
... technological substitution sitting within three diffusion mechanisms - diffusion, imitation, and speculation. Believes that aspects concerning their co-evolution are often ignored by researchers, and that external factors such as hype, policy, and organizational learning add extra dimensions that necessitate a broader view of diffusion i.e. one which involves aggregate effects of individuals' and organizations' responses to change. Builds a bottom-up collective view of social behaviour from individuals' cognitions, interpretations, and responses to events under uncertainty. Employs subjective utility in addressing innovation worth and decision to change. Addresses perception, option value, expectation, and other confounding factors regarding individual behaviour. Brings in market heterogeneity with behaviour aggregated to innovators/early adopters, mainstream adopters, decision-making, technological considerations, and credibility. Deliberates on individuals' interpersonal interactions and communications to declare that a uniform view of social communications is oversimplistic. Discusses opinion leadership and other social factors. Illustrates impact aspects by a systems dynamic model of three S-curve technologies. Presents an integrated interconnective model.

Research limitations/implications - Argues current models of diffusion lack explanatory power.

Originality/value - Presents an expanded model of social factors promoting technological substitution through considering social heterogeneity and aggregation of individual behaviour and communications.

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