G. & Rice, R.E. (1986). Don't hang up: Organizational diffusion of
the intelligent telephone. Information and Management, 10(3),
This paper analyzes an effort to introduce an "intelligent" or
PBS telephone system at two separate office complexes within the same
500 firm. The effort to diffuse this communication technology
succeeded at the one site and failed at the other site.
This paradox presented an opportunity to study both successful
unsuccessful implementation of a new communications technology within a
single organization. It also provided and opportunity to test the
of traditional diffusion theory for explaining the rejection of
an innovation. In particular, diffusion theory does not emphasize
or symbolic forces in organizations, or the disjuncture between the
and the end user as adopters. Results from the case study
and multivariate analyses suggest the following:
The attributes of the innovation did not discriminate between
and failure building, or among the number of system functions used.
The number of enhanced telephone functions used (as measure of
of adoption) is very slightly associated in the success building with
phone traffic and usefulness, but is not associated in the failure
with any perceived impacts.
Technical factors interacted with political factors in
The relationships of attitudes and use of the telephone to
impacts and number of functions used differed by organizational role -
management, technical staff, and administrative personnel.
Criteria for success and failure may differ at the
and at the user level.
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