The Role of the Social Network in the Innovation Decision Process

Diffusion research is concerned with modeling the introduction of new products into the market. Thus, it seeks to provide insights into adoption decisions and antecedents of new product success or failure on an aggregate level. Many different approaches have been tested in order to arrive at such insights, but one of them has been identified as particularly promising: the influence that customers exert on each other. As a consequence, this project connects two research streams that both share the goal of explaining adoption decisions, but have lacked a proper integration so far: social network analysis and Roger’s innovation decision process.

Drawing on Roger’s stages in the innovation decision process, we hypothesize that the social exposure to the innovation and the connectedness in a social network impact each of the process stages - knowledge, persuasion, and decision - in a different way. To test our conceptual model, we use a unique dataset containing members of a German golf club and study the diffusion of an electric golf trolley in this population.

The findings from this research deepen the knowledge on the impact of network metrics on the emergent process of adopting an innovation.

Contact Person
Prof. Dr. Christian Lüthje