Limits to the diffusion of innovation

Jason MacVaugh (University of Gloucestershire Business School, Cheltenham, UK)
Francesco Schiavone (Department of Business Studies, University Parthenope, Naples, Italy)

European Journal of Innovation Management

ISSN: 1460-1060

Publication date: 27 April 2010



The purpose of this article is to integrate existing theoretical explanations for innovation diffusion across the disciplines of marketing, innovation and sociology research.


Literature reviews and historical case analysis were used to support an integrative model.


Innovation diffusion is affected by technological, social and learning “conditions” while operating in the contextual “domain” of the individual, community or market/industry.

Research limitations/implications

The model is drawn from new product development and marketing theory. Both fields are dominated by the assumption that users adopt new technology to maximise their utility. Also, the model does not integrate the overlapping effects of the different contexts and domains.

Practical implications

The article provides a sound model for orienting new product development strategy, since it may reduce the risk of low and slow user adoption of radical innovations due, for instance, to their technological, social, and cognitive differences with former products. A second critical managerial implication is that technological, social and learning conditions clearly have an effect on marketing actions and competitive strategies.


The article provides a literature review of resistance to technology adoption through a multidisciplinary lens.



MacVaugh, J. and Schiavone, F. (2010), "Limits to the diffusion of innovation", European Journal of Innovation Management, Vol. 13 No. 2, pp. 197-221.

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Copyright © 2010, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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