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June 16, 2006

Six Stages Of Technological Acceptance For Social Media

Reading Max Kalehoff's post about the level of management acceptance for employees to read CGM on the web in Fortune 500 companies, got me thinking about the 5 stages of acceptance of grief. I wondered if there were any stages of technological acceptance. There are! Andy Budd has developed the six stages of technological acceptance.

Blissful Ignorance - People seem to start in a state of blissful ignorance. They are not aware of what is going on around them and frankly don't care.

Denial - People have heard about this new technology, but it'll never take off and its not something they will ever need to know.

Anger - People don't get why everybody else thinks the technology is interesting and they don't, so they get angry.

Acceptance - Finally people come to the conclusion that if enough people think the technology is interesting, they better start learning about it or risk being left behind.

Understanding - The light-bulb goes on and people start to get why the new technology is so interesting.

Enthusiasm - People get good at the new ways of thinking and actually start getting other people interested in the technology.

Max, for your next workshop, maybe by providing an intro to the six stages, you can make the assumption that every executive moving forward is at the Understanding stage. :-)

Seriously though, this might be simply an issue of the IT department setting standards that have not be considered completely by senior management.

Posted by johncass at June 16, 2006 1:19 PM

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Just a note that the study of organizational adoption of innovations is pretty well-established. The five steps of the process in this literature are: 1. Agenda-setting - finding an organizational problem that may create a perceived need for innovation (this is where denial may fit in). 2. Matching - the innovation with the problem. 3. redefining - fitting the innovation (eg, blogging) through modifications and re-invention to the organization's structures and culture. 4. Clarifying - the relationship between the innovation and the organization ('how blogging helps us stay true to our focus on customers'). 5. Routinizing - the innovation becomes part of the company's activities and no longer has a separate identity. However, I think the affective stages of response Max describes are useful for those of us who have to deal with it. Two sub reactions I would put in the taxonomy are (probably as poorly directed anger responses: (1) Smother the baby - marshall all the resources one can to demonstrate why it won't work/isn't appropriate for the organization, and (2) devil's advocate it to extinction - just keep up the "yes, but..." and "what if'..." scenario spinning until you wear everybody else out.

Posted by: craig lefebvre at June 19, 2006 10:03 AM

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