To read this content please select one of the options below:

Symbols as cultural expressions of technology diffusion

Udechukwu Ojiako (School of Management, University of Southampton, Southampton, UK)
Bartholomew Aleke (School of Computing, Engineering and Information Sciences, University of Northumbria, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK)

Society and Business Review

ISSN: 1746-5680

Article publication date: 4 October 2011




In the literature, technology has been shown to perform two major roles, one functionalist and the second symbolic. The purpose of this paper is to explore how cultural expressions in the form of symbols impact on technology diffusion.


Data were obtained primarily through qualitative research (semi‐structured interviews, document analysis and field notes/observation). Data analysis and coding was conducted using template analysis (Atlas.ti).


The findings of the research suggest that an understanding of the symbolic role of technology in the form of “space”, physical structures, communication facilitators and a status symbol may enhance the success of its adoption among indigenous agribusinesses.

Research limitations/implications

The study is limited by its focus on a select set of symbolic dimensions of culture. Emphasising a limited set of cultural dimensions assumes that other imperatives may not have a high impact on technology diffusion.


The focus in this case is on small‐scale indigenous agribusinesses operating in the Southeast of Nigeria. The authors employ broader social anthropological and sociological theories which lie outside the parameters of standard technology adoption and diffusion of innovation theories to support the study.



Ojiako, U. and Aleke, B. (2011), "Symbols as cultural expressions of technology diffusion", Society and Business Review, Vol. 6 No. 3, pp. 198-213.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Related articles