A Multilevel Social Network Perspective on IT Adoption

  • Heidi Tscherning
Part of the Integrated Series in Information Systems book series (ISIS, volume 28)


Adoption of technologies has long been a key area of research in the information systems (IS) discipline, and researchers have thus been interested in the attributes, beliefs, intentions, and behaviors of individuals and organizations that can explain information technology (IT) adoption. The focal unit of adoption has mainly been individuals and organizations, however, research at the group or social network levels as well as the interorganizational level has recently gained increased interest from information systems (IS) researchers. This recent focus views the world as being the sum of all relations. Various social network theories exist that seek to emphasize different proficiencies of social networks and explain theoretical mechanisms for behavior in social networks. The core idea of these theories is that social networks are valuable, and the relations among actors affect the behavior of individuals, groups, organizations, industries, and societies. IS researchers have also found that social network theory can help explain technology adoption. Some researchers, in addition, acknowledge that most adoption situations involve phenomena occurring at multiple levels, yet most technology adoption research applies a single level of analysis. Multilevel research can address the levels of theory, measurement, and analysis required to fully examining research questions. This chapter, therefore, adapts the Coleman diagram into the Multilevel Framework of Technology Adoption in order to explain how social network theory, at the individual and social network levels, can help explain adoption of IT. As Coleman (1990) attempts to create a link between the micro- and macro-levels in a holistic manner, his approach is applicable in explaining IT adoption.


Adoption IT social network theory Multi-level approach MFTA 



Information and Communication Technology


Inter-Organizational Information Systems


Information Systems


Information Technology


Technology Acceptance Model


Theory of Planned Behavior


Theory of Reasoned Action


Unified Theory of Acceptance and Use of Technology


Voice over Internet Protocol


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Center for Applied ICTCopenhagen Business SchoolFrederiksbergDenmark

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