A paradigm for change: The diffusion of innovation theory and the cellular industry

Kopel Morris (Moshe) Speter, Pace University


Since the beginning of time, mankind advanced by the creation and adoption of new and improved technologies. However, the adoption of new "technologies" was always notable by the varying rate of diffusion across different types of innovations and across different types of societies. Understanding this process is of great importance. The success or failure of societies, over time, can be traced back to their ability to adopt new technologies. More recently, many businesses have succeeded by inventing new products or services or failed by their inability to either innovate or to follow through on their initial breakthroughs. This topic of diffusion of innovation has been studied for many years. Theories have been developed to describe this process in terms of attitudes and behaviors of individuals in a society. Also empirical work has been done to test "innovativeness" among individuals as related to a number of different products or ideas. This study focuses on the experience of the cellular industry, in the United States in general and one metropolitan area in particular, from its inception (approximately ten years ago) to date. The study findings showed that there were significant differences between the 1985 and 1994 customer groups. There were also some differences between the ethnic group segments that subscribed to cellular service, at the same point in time. The implications of these findings relate to both the research and business world. For research, there is empirical evidence to support the theory that purchase behavior is a "better" measure of"innovativeness." For businesses involved in the provision of cellular service, the research findings provide insight into the changes taking place and suggest potential approaches to pricing, promotions and distribution channels. This study is based on the previous work involving diffusion of innovation theory and applied to the cellular industry. It combines original empirical research with data from secondary sources on the performance of the industry over time. In this way the theoretical world and the real world are used to test the hypothesis in the "paradigm of change."

Subject Area

Marketing|Occupational psychology|Minority & ethnic groups|Sociology

Recommended Citation

Speter, Kopel Morris (Moshe), "A paradigm for change: The diffusion of innovation theory and the cellular industry" (1995). ETD Collection for Pace University. AAI9541998.



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