Inderscience Publishers

Stepwise innovation adoption: a neglected concept in innovation research

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Most innovation researchers tend to consider innovation adoption as a binary process, implying that companies have either adopted an innovation or not. In this paper we focus on e-commerce as an innovation that can be adopted stepwise. We distinguish between two levels of e-commerce, basic and advanced. Following Rogers' (1995) innovation adoption model, we investigate the differences between companies with regard to their knowledge, perceived potential value, implementation and satisfaction with e-commerce. In a field study involving 127 companies, we consistently find higher scores for companies at the advanced level, even when controlling for the impact of the intention to further adopt e-commerce and various contextual factors. Interestingly, we also find significant, negative interaction effects between adoption level and adoption intention. Due to the magnitude of these effects, the interaction effects tend to cancel out the additional effect of adoption intention for companies at the advanced level.

Keywords: innovation adoption, adoption levels, e-commerce, innovation, stepwise innovation, electronic commerce

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