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Technological innovation : a study of adoption and diffusion of technology in the pottery kiln industry

Clements, MAC


MAC Clements


R Mason


This Thesis is about behaviour, a special type of behaviour,
the adoption and diffusion of-new ideas and practices - "innovations"-
in particular technological-innovations. Successive Governments
and'the Media frequently point to historical cases where British
inventive skills have failed to make subsequent commercial impact
in the country of origin. What determines a successful invention
and what affects the behaviour of organisations involved with its
development and coimmercialisation? Answers to both these questions
are sought through reference to research into the diffusion of
innovations, both at a conceptual and operational level.
In response to criticiams levelled at numerous studies(highlighted
in the text), this Thesis holistically considers both the results
and process research orientations on the grounds that the consideration
of consequences or causes of behaviour in isolation tends to present
only a part picture of innovatory behaviour, Evidence is later
presented in the fieldwork to suggest that the causes of innovation
decisions in turn can arise from the consequences of previous
innovation decisions; the two research perspectives remain inextricably
Section 1 introduces the reader to the current tendencyq though
gradualp for the merging of research methodologies used in diffusion
studies. Evidence is provided to suggest that the failure on the
part of the researcher to consider work other than that from his
-own Particular academic discipline has weakened the development of
a grand theory of diffusion andq in doing sog reduced the explanatory
value of isolated empirical studies. I
The subsequent Section reviews the literaturefor contributions
-made by past researchers to the understanding of adoption and
diffusion behaviour processes. A framework originally presented
by Katz, an eminent sociologisto is used, namely: -
An Innovation
Which is Communicated
Through certain Channels
Over Time
Among the Members of a Social System
Each element, in turn, is critically evaluated in this Section.
A case is made for a middle-course methodological approach
between that of the grand theorist on the one hand and the raw
empiricist on the other. A wide range of cross-disciplinary
sources are cited in this examination, intended to provide a
base for examining industrial innovation in Section 3-
Section 3 extends the literature search into industrial systems,
with particular emphasis upon those factors considered influential
in the adoption and diffusion of technological innovation.
Investigation is made into the definition of "industrial innovation"
and how discernable types of innovation can affect the level of
responsiveness to adoption in the industry. Factors seen to
impinge upon adoption decisions and the subsequent diffusion process
arise from bo th internal and external-to-the-organisation sources.
Economic and nonw-economic variables are considered. Again sources
not traditionally presented in diffusion studies are used.
Section 4 (Volume II) is concerned with applying theoretical diffusion
concepts to an an-going industrial-situation to examine both clauses
and consequences of industrial innovatory behaviour. Two
complement, ary field studies were conducted in the Pottery Kiln
Industry - to suppliers, customers and kiln-builders themselvesfrom
which a number of system-perceived major technoýogical
innovations were identified and used in the subsequent investigation.
A nomination approach was used as it was considered that what
firms themselves considered to be technological innovations -
watersheds in te'chnological progress - would assist in the explanation
of subsequent adoption and diffusion decisions. A number of
innovations were identifiedv spanning a time period 1800 - 1975.
The innovations were then used to probe both causes and consequences
of their adoption and diffusion; in-firm and environmental influences
were identified,
In the final Section, summary and conclusions are presented 1ýr
relating the thoughts and findings of the literature Xeview-to the
facts established through the empirical studies. Points are raised
as to discrepancies and to remaining gaps in knowledge.
The comprehensive Bibliography, citing over 450 references,
emphasises the multi-disciplinary approach advocated by the critics
of early research studies.


Clements, M. Technological innovation : a study of adoption and diffusion of technology in the pottery kiln industry. (Thesis). University of Salford

Thesis Type Thesis
Deposit Date Sep 23, 2011
Publicly Available Date Sep 23, 2011
Award Date Jan 1, 1980


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