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Sensemaking throughout adoption and the innovation‐decision process

Larry Seligman (Department of MIS, Terry College of Business, University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia, USA)

European Journal of Innovation Management

ISSN: 1460-1060

Article publication date: 1 January 2006



Current technology adoption research focuses on relationships between attitudes, intentions, behavior, and their various antecedents, but little is known about how these relationships develop and the processes by which adoption actually takes place. The purpose of this paper is to use Karl Weick's description of sensemaking from his book Sensemaking in Organizations, as a starting point for a sensemaking‐based perspective on adoption.


The paper describes sensemaking, explains why it is an appropriate perspective for studying IT adoption, and discusses it briefly in terms of existing adoption‐related models and perspectives. The paper then discusses seven properties of sensemaking and their roles in the adoption process. A comparison of the sensemaking perspective of adoption to Rogers' innovation‐decision process model is presented. Finally, questions to guide future development of the sensemaking perspective on adoption are highlighted.


Seven properties of sensemaking are discussed with regard to technology adoption. These discussions produced a substantial number of research questions.


This perspective provides the opportunity for a much richer understanding of how adoption occurs and how it can be influenced.



Seligman, L. (2006), "Sensemaking throughout adoption and the innovation‐decision process", European Journal of Innovation Management, Vol. 9 No. 1, pp. 108-120.



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Copyright © 2006, Emerald Group Publishing Limited