The Who’s Who of Change

Posted on June 27, 2007. Filed under: Uncategorized |



An idea is always easier to adopt when it comes with a perk. Take for instance, Driver’s Education class, the benefits include discounts on your car insurance, the hope of safer driving, and a load off of your parents’ minds. What or who makes you want to adopt this idea? The person who makes influences your decision to adopt such an idea is called the change agent. He or she can diffuse or slow down the adoption of an innovation, but their role can vary based on a population. Change agents come in all shapes and sizes, teachers, medical doctors, and salesmen, all of these professions have to opportunity to be change agents.

“Change agents are most important at the trial stage than any other stage in the adoption process.” (p.262) states Everett Rogers of our most frequently discussed book: Diffusion of Innovations. After the trial stage, the best diffusion tactic is word-of-mouth. In one study by Rogers (1957c) “respondents stated they would more likely be convinced of a new farm idea if they talked to a neighbor about it than a farm salesman.” (p. 265) In the graph below, one of Rogers’ studies projected how fast the rate of awareness coincides with the rate of adoption. As you can see, the influence of change agents can significantly sway a population to take notice of an idea and then to adopt it.
chart2.jpgThere is however, a level of trust that comes with adopting a new and risky idea, after the opinion leaders adopt an idea, if it is up to them to diffuse the good word. However, there are a few strategies that change agents should follow:

1. The idea must fit cultural norms and values.

2. The population must need an innovation to adopt one.

3. The idea must improve life, not just profit.

4. The change agent should concentrate his efforts on opinion leaders.

5. The change agent should predict and deal accordingly with social consequences.

Through these very basic guidelines, a change agent should be able to create awareness and start the diffusion process within his or her community.


Make a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Liked it here?
Why not try sites on the blogroll...

%d bloggers like this: