Influence

Underlying the process of cooperative adoption is communication across network members, which spreads information about the proposed innovation (Robertson and Gatignon, 1986), builds social capital (Anderson and Narus, 1990; Mohr and Nevin, 1990); and builds consensus among network members leading to adoption (Blau, 1964). In its role as an information source, communication between members must be bi-directional, open, frequent, and interpersonal (Mohr and Nevin, 1990). Communication, especially its openness and bi-directionality, is also necessary to ensure participative decision-making (which is discussed later in this section). Frequent communication is necessary to build social capital and to overcome the strains inherent in organizational change (Aiken and Hage, 1968). Thus, communication both directly impacts adoption intentions and moderates the relationship between participative decision-making and trust and these intentions. The direct relationship has been supported in the context of dyadic relationships, although the moderated relationship has not (Hausman and Stock, 2003).

Influence is a specific type of communication likely to occur between focal firms and recipients in their efforts to encourage adoption. These attempts to influence innovation adoption are likely to create some level of resistance, especially as the influence becomes more coercive (Hausman and Stock, 2003). One method of weakening this resistance is to involve members of recipient firms in the

Angela Hausman, Wesley J. Johnston and Adesegun Oyedele decision process, thereby encouraging two-way communication between the firms (Mohr and Nevin, 1990; Rogers, 1995). This was supported by Hausman and Stock (2003) in the specific contest of cooperative adoption where there was a positive relationship between participative management and cooperative adoption. These studies amplify the importance of participative management and communication in the adoption and implementation of IOS. Thus, we propose:

P5. The rate of adoption of an IOS innovation by networked organizations will be: (a) positively related to communication between the focal firms and recipient firms; and (b) positively related to their participation in the adoption decision.

Champions perform a vital role in the diffusion of innovations across organizations by using interpersonal influence to speed the adoption by others (Howell and Higgins, 1990; Lawless and Price, 1992). A champion is an individual who exceeds their formal role to promote adoption through their ability to focus efforts on the innovative idea, exert influence to overcome resistance, and provide leadership (Howell and Higgins, 1990). Champions exert influence both in their legitimate roles and through expenditure of social capital raised in prior contact between relational partners (Pfeffer and Salanick, 1978). They also bridge cultural differences between organizations to improve communication between firms and encourage cooperation within their own firm (Dougherty, 1992).

In a network, there may be several different champions, some working within the organization to mobilize adoption efforts and some between organizations who act as conduits for information and influence. The literature refers to these inter-organizational individuals as boundary spanners or relationship promoters (Hildebrand and Biemans, 2003; Woodside, 1996). In addition to their role as champion of the innovation, these individuals also may perform task coordination activities to help facilitate adoption and may act as filters to guard against the spread of information unfavorable toward adoption (Ancona and Caldwell, 1990).

The influence of an innovation champion in terms of enhancing the adoption of technological innovations within an organization has gained considerably attention among adoption researchers (Howell and Higgins, 1990; Van de Ven, 1986). The former investigated the role of the champions by focusing on understanding their personality characteristics, leadership behaviors, and influence tactics. This study suggests that champions are more disposed to taking risk and also have a higher level of innovativeness than non-champions. In line with these findings are the results of an empirical study of German construction and engineering sector linking successful with the presence of a champion (Hauschildt and Kirchmann, 2001). The same conclusion was also drawn from Nam and Tatum's (1997) empirical.

The role of champions in speeding adoption underscores the assertion by Maute and Locander (1994) that the adoption of innovations is fundamentally a social process. Unfortunately, adoption research has not fully developed these aspects of the process. Zaltman et al. (1973) point out that the involvement of members in an informal social network can enhance the level of information flow for a new innovation thereby influencing the rate of adoption of that innovation. Furthermore, knowledge about the structural

antecedents of inter-firm alliances offers a good basis for understanding the importance of social ties in collaborative adoption. Prior research in this area can be attributed to network theorists (e.g. Mizruchi and Galaskeiwicz, 1993). They argue that if the focal firm and the recipient organizations have well-established social ties, the propensity for the firms to collaborate on future projects will be enhanced. For example, a focal firm with well-established social ties with a recipient firm has a higher likelihood to be successful at persuading the recipient firm to adopt an IOS than a focal firm with weak social ties. Social ties also build social capital through the give-and-take involved in maintaining such relationships. This social capital, held by champions and other network spanners, can be expended to encourage cooperative adoption. Thus, we propose: P6. The rate of adoption of IOS innovation by networked organizations will be: (a) positively related to the presence of an innovation champion within the organization; and (b) positively related to the extent of social ties between the focal firms and the recipient organizations.

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