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Chapter X. Using Actor-Network Theory to... > Actor-Network Theory and E-Commerce ...

Actor-Network Theory and E-Commerce Innovation

The theory of innovation diffusion (Rogers, 1995) is well established and has been used as the framework of many studies. In most cases, however, the success of the diffusion model has been in explanation of innovation ’in the large’ when the statistical effects of big numbers of organisations and individuals involved come into play. It has, typically, been less successful in explaining how particular individuals or specific organisations make their adoption decisions, and it is in situations like this that an innovation translation approach, using actor-network theory, is especially useful.

In offering a socio-technical approach to theorising innovation ANT provides a particularly useful tool to the study of innovations in which people and machines are intimately involved with each other. The adoption of e-commerce technologies certainly involves a consideration of the technologies themselves, but also of business organisations, business processes, and the needs and likes of individual humans. ANT, we suggest, is especially useful in researching innovations like these, and in particular, when considering individual adoption decisions.


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