In this study, Roger’s diffusion of innovation theory is to be applied in form of a theoretical framework. Implementation is to be carried through every stage and step as identified in Roger’s diffusion theory. Theoretical representation of the project is to be developed. The main objective of the theory is to approve a new design and conduct. The participants in this study, therefore, are expected to adopt a new lifestyle and do things differently. For instance, adolescents are expected to work out and eat nutritious foods. Through this approval of new design is diffusion distributed to the entire society.
Roger’s diffusion of innovation theory defines how and why new ideas spread through various cultures (Rogers, 1976). The hypothesis also defines the rate at which technology is spreading within the traditions. According to Rogers (1995), diffusion entails the progression through which improvement moves through the participants within the societal system. The major factors, which manipulate the distribution of new ideas, include innovation, moments, and societal system and communication channels (Roger, 1976). However, the main determinant of the theory is human capital. For self-sustenance, the improvement must be widely accepted. There are various classes of adopters. These include early adopters, early and late majority, innovators, and the laggards. Diffusion manifests itself in diverse ways. These ways are dependent on the form of adopters and the decision process of innovation (Wejnert, 2002). In public health, this theory has been applicable in the enhancement of the behavior in the community. It is therefore necessary to comprehend a target people prior to executing the theory. This theory is applicable with approaches such as surveys, network analysis, and field experiments.
Stages in the Innovation theory
- Innovators: These comprise of the first batch of individuals who try out the innovation. This is the familiarity stage. This group is adventurers and is interested in new ideas (Pemberton, 1936). They are risk takers and can go to a great length to acquire and use the innovation. They are the pioneers of any idea or behavior within a given population and pave the path for the seepage and adoption of a new idea or behavior into society. In this study, the researchers, medical practitioners, and other professionals such as nutritionists are innovators. These people are willing to create ideas and come up with new developments to overcome the prevailing situation of obesity among adolescents.
- Early adopters: These comprise of individuals who stand for the people. In this situation, the contributors are categorized as early adopters (Valente, 1996). It is possible to persuade contributors to acknowledge new ideas or behaviors. Participants in this category are aware of the health issue in their lives. They are eager to transform and adopt new thoughts. Information sheets and manuals are strategies, which can be applied in this category. The participants need no persuasion to adjust their lifestyles. Information sheets and manuals will therefore play an important role in offering them the information they need in order to make decisions.
- The early majority comprises of the community who are to be reached through the findings of this research. For people to be categorized in this group, they ought to have made decisions of adopting the new idea (Pemberton, 1936). Confirmation is the primary determinant of this group’s willingness and decision to assume new changes. For the sake of these people, it is advisable that the study meets its objectives and offers positive results from the outcome. Positive feedback and findings from the study are strategies to reach to this group.
- Late majority: This group consists of those who are doubtful of change. Their willingness to accept and adopt the findings is hinged on obtaining evidence from the majority of the public. In this study, the overweight adults represent this category. This is because they may have heard of the measures to manage the problem but they are not willing to try them. Adults are at times skeptical over the new ideas of change of lifestyle and diets as they are used with the old lifestyle. In order to attract this group, there is need to have the majority of the adolescents share their positive results. Therefore, information is a crucial component of reaching out to this group of individuals.
- Laggards or confirmation stage: This is the last stage and is comprised of people who are conservatives and traditional in the society (Rogers, 1976). They symbolize the initial generation in the races within the nation. In as much as the generation may have been affected by obesity, they are not willing to change as they have taken obesity and its effects as part of life. This category also comprises of parents who are not willing to adopt new measures such as limited use of the laborsaving devices within the home. These people may not willingly use the available space for exercise. Adolescents who are not willing to let go of their old lifestyles are also categorized in this group. To change the perception of people in this category, it is advisable to incorporate statistics, pressure and fear appeals (Roger, 1976)
Limitations of this theory
Proof of this theory did not begin from public health. Therefore, its uses do not abundantly apply to the modification of new behaviors. The theory does not incorporate the participatory commonly used in public health programs. Diffusion theory is best applied in the management of behaviors rather than in the prevention of conduct. There is limited consideration of personal resources and social assistance in the adoption of new conduct. It is more individual based rather than laying emphasis on the society. It also fails to realize the significance of the media in the problem of obesity among adolescents.
Diffusion theory is one of the oldest theories, which defines how idea is to spread from a person to the entire society. Diffusion aims at ensuring that the society adopts new behavior. This theory emphasizes that the process takes long as people accept change at different rates. In addition, the process goes through various stages due to variation of peoples’ behavior. Implementation has been carried through every stage and steps as identified in the Roger’s diffusion theory. Diffusion of innovation theory principally focuses on approving new ideas or behaviors in the society. The participants in the study have therefore adopted new lifestyles.
Rogers, E. M. (1976). “New Product Adoption and Diffusion.” Journal of Consumer Research. 290 -301.
Rogers, E. M. (1995). Diffusion of Innovations (4th Ed.). New York: The Free Press.
Wejnert, B. (2002). “Integrating Models of Diffusion of Innovations: A Conceptual Framework”. Annual Review of Sociology 28: 297–306.
Pemberton, H. E. (1936). “The Curve of Culture Diffusion Rate.” American Sociological Review, 1(4): 547–556.
Valente, T. W. (1996). “Social Network Thresholds in the Diffusion of Innovations.” Social Networks 18: 69.