A longitudinal study of the diffusion of a computer-based administrative innovation within a university faculty network
Vance Alan Durrington, Texas Tech University, United States
Texas Tech University . Awarded
Identifying predictors of computer use such as attitude, anxiety, and receptivity to change have been the primary area of interest in instructional technology. Research relating to the diffusion of innovations in education has been based primarily on looking at these individual characteristics as predictors of use.
This dissertation proposes to use social network analysis to study the diffusion of two computer-based administrative innovations within a university faculty network. Methodology issues concerning time of adoption and network nominations were examined as well as the relationship of time of adoption and the number of network nominations received, spatial proximity, and organizational unit proximity. Finally, the diffusion of the innovations was to be analyzed using the dual-classification and T/CM models.
Subjects were 66 faculty members in a College in Education from a southwestern university during the 1996-1997 academic year. At the beginning of the study subjects were introduced to the innovations and asked to provide demographic information and to identify communication partners in the areas of advice, friendship, and discussion. At the conclusion of the study subjects were asked to provide feed back related to the innovations and to once again identify their communication partners in the areas of advice, friendship, and discussion.
Results indicated that there was no significant difference between adopters recall time of adoption and actual time of adoption. In addition, there was no significant difference between network nominations for advice, friendship, and discussion identified at the beginning and at the end of the study. The number of network nominations received was found to be negatively correlated with the time of adoption. No correlation was found between time of adoption and spatial and organizational unit proximity.
The diffusion process could not be studied, because the necessary threshold and critical mass levels were not reached. The innovations did not diffuse through the network. The lack of diffusion could be explained by the negative correlation between the number of network nominations received and the time of adoption as well as by comments faculty submitted related to the innovations and a graphical representation of the social network with the nodes of adopters shaded.
Durrington, V.A. A longitudinal study of the diffusion of a computer-based administrative innovation within a university faculty network. Ph.D. thesis, Texas Tech University.
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