• Create BookmarkCreate Bookmark
  • Create Note or TagCreate Note or Tag
  • PrintPrint
Share this Page URL
Help

Chapter X. Using Actor-Network Theory to... > Actor-Network Theory and Innovation ...

Actor-Network Theory and Innovation Translation

One view of the adoption of an electronic commerce innovation by a small business suggests that decisions are made primarily based on its perceptions of the characteristics of the technology concerned. Innovation diffusion (Rogers, 1995) uses this approach, and is based on the following elements: characteristics of the innovation itself, the nature of the communications channels, the passage of time, and the social system. Using this sort of approach the researcher would probably begin by looking for characteristics of the specific e-commerce technology to be adopted, and the advantages and problems associated with its use. The next step would be to suggest that the adoption, or rejection, of this technology by the small business was due largely to these characteristics. We contend that while there may be some validity in such an approach, it is unlikely to provide the complete explanation, as it would miss other influences due to inter-personal and inter-business interactions, and to the backgrounds of the people involved.

We argue that actor-network theory (ANT) has much to offer in a situation like this. Researchers using an actor-network approach to study innovation would concentrate on issues of network formation, investigating the human and non-human actors and the alliances and networks they build up. They would investigate how the strength of these alliances may have enticed the small business to make the adoption or, on the other hand, to have deterred them from doing so (Tatnall & Gilding, 1999; Tatnall, 2000; Tatnall, 2002b). While some research approaches to technological innovation treat the social and the technical in entirely different ways, actor-network theory proposes instead a socio-technical account in which neither social nor technical positions are privileged. In order to treat both human and non-human actors in the same way, actor-network theory is based upon three principles (Callon, 1986b):


PREVIEW

                                                                          

Not a subscriber?

Start A Free Trial


  
  • Creative Edge
  • Create BookmarkCreate Bookmark
  • Create Note or TagCreate Note or Tag
  • PrintPrint