Information technology innovation diffusion: an information requirements paradigm

Nigel Melville and Ronald Ramirez
Information Systems Journal, Vol. 18 Issue 3, p.247-273

Information technology (IT) innovation research examines the organizational and technological factors that determine IT adoption and diffusion, including firm size and scope, technological competency and expected benefits. We extend the literature by focusing on information requirements as a driver of IT innovation adoption and diffusion. Our framework of IT innovation diffusion incorporates three industry-level sources of information requirements: process complexity, clock speed and supply chain complexity. We apply the framework to US manufacturing industries using aggregate data of internet-based innovations and qualitative analysis of two industries: wood products and beverage manufacturing. Results show systematic patterns supporting the basic thesis of the information processing paradigm: higher IT innovation diffusion in industries with higher information processing requirements; the salience of downstream industry structure in the adoption of interorganizational systems; and the role of the location of information intensity in the supply chain in determining IT adoption and diffusion. Our study provides a new explanation for why certain industries were early and deep adopters of internet-based innovations while others were not: variation in information processing requirements.