Document Type



Doctor of Philosophy


Business Administration

Date of Defense


Graduate Advisor

Rajiv Sabherwal, Ph.D.


Deborah Balser, Ph.D.

Mary Lacity, Ph.D.

Vicki Sauter, Ph.D.


Despite considerable research on the adoption and diffusion of information systems (IS)/ information technology (IT) innovations by individuals in organizations, very little is known about the processes underlying the adoption of innovations, and how those processes contribute to the diffusion and assimilation of innovations within organizations. Viewing processes as sequences of actions, this research conducted two studies to: a) uncover the adoption and influence processes employed by individuals, and b) identify the factors that influence diffusion and assimilation within social networks. The first study, situated at the individual level, involved field interviews with 27 individuals from ten organizations in a large mid-western city in the United States. Three categories of actions were identified from the interview data: contextual actions, influencer actions, and adopter (pre-adoption) actions. The actions from each interview were used to construct two sequences (for adoption and influence), which were then examined using optimal matching and cluster analysis. Taxonomies of three adoption processes (Conscious Quest, Requisite Compliance, and Piloted Trial) and three influence processes (Directed Assistance, Queried Disclosure, and Logical Persuasion) were empirically developed. These processes provide insights into the adoption of innovations by individuals. The second study, situated at the network level, involved an agent-based simulation. Building on the field interviews, the simulation modeled the behaviors of individuals within 5000 networks adopting multi-feature IS/IT innovations over 50 time periods. Cross-sectional time-series analyses of the resulting data supported 13 of the 20 hypotheses, and revealed that: a) diffusion was facilitated by: a centralized organization structure, an individualistic cultural orientation, and all three actions, b) assimilation was facilitated by: a centralized organization structure and an individualistic cultural orientation during the early periods but by a decentralized organization structure and a collectivistic cultural orientation during the later periods, and c) all three actions facilitated assimilation in the early periods but only contextual and adopter actions influenced assimilation during the later periods. Overall, this study yielded insights into the diffusion and assimilation of innovations within networks. Together, the two studies provided insights into the complex processes by which individuals within networks adopt IS/IT innovations with multiple features.

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