Quang N. Bui

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

PhD in Business


Department of Information and Process Management

First Advisor

M. Lynne Markus

Second Advisor

Sue Newell

Third Advisor

Kalle Lyytinen


This research examines the adoption and diffusion process of Information Technology (IT) management innovations—ones that focus on the organizing logics and governance of IT activities. IT management innovations are inherently important to organizations as they can dramatically transform the way businesses are organized and operated. However, because those innovations are tacit and composed mostly of abstract ideas, their adoption and diffusion are often plagued by ambiguity and fads, at times best described as "a solution in search of a problem." Against this backdrop, using theories from communication, sociology, Information Systems, and organizational studies, this research focuses on three underexplored aspects of IT management innovation adoption and diffusion: adaptation and reinvention processes, alternative designs, and rhetorical persuasion.

The research advances our understanding on the differences in adopting and diffusing IT management innovations as compared to product innovations and management innovations. Particularly, it contributes to prior theories on post-adoption behaviors, innovation diffusion, and communication and dissemination strategies. The findings suggest the possibility of limited diversity in innovation adoption and highlight the roles of diverging mechanisms in the diffusion processes (e.g., alternative designs as opposed to a single dominant design). To practitioners, this research stresses the importance of mindfully adapting and modifying a particular innovation rather than blindly following management fads. Future research is encouraged to further investigate the issues and challenges of IT management innovations, especially mechanisms that lead to the limited diversity in adoption behaviors and diffusion patterns.