ERIC Number: ED390619
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1994-Jul
Reference Count: N/A
Knowledge Diffusion in the Context of Development in Rural Areas. Keynote Address.
Martinez-Brawley, Emilia E.
This paper analyzes principles of knowledge diffusion and provides a framework for applying new ideas or innovations, particularly in relation to rural community development. As new knowledge is created or old knowledge is found to have new applications, the art of spreading knowledge and managing innovation has become more crucial in both urban and rural communities. Change causes anxiety, and many innovations will encounter rejection. The diffusion of knowledge and of innovations in rural areas depends on the interpretation and communication by various stakeholders of the relative advantage of adopting an innovation. A critical component is effective marketing of an innovation or program to help clarify its advantage to the community. A second principle in knowledge diffusion suggests that the dissemination and use of innovations is constrained by the social, cultural, and organizational realities of the new context. Contextual forces often provide an explanation for resistance and for difficulties encountered in the dissemination of new knowledge, programs, or innovations. Equally important is the transactional nature of knowledge diffusion. Perceptions of the complexity, triability, and observability of an innovation will determine the rate of trial and adoption. This paper suggests that culture, norms, values, beliefs, and assumptions about life are major determinants of how individuals and communities view the world and change. The challenge of the innovator is to work within the social constructs of reality of those who will use and benefit from the new knowledge or program. Examples discuss introduction of innovations in human services delivery in rural areas. Contains 48 references. (LP)
Descriptors: Adoption (Ideas), Change Agents, Change Strategies, Community Attitudes, Community Development, Context Effect, Cultural Influences, Diffusion (Communication), Human Services, Innovation, Program Development, Resistance to Change, Rural Areas, Rural Development, Social Change, World Views
Publication Type: Information Analyses; Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Knowledge Utilization; Social Construction of Reality
Note: In: Issues Affecting Rural Communities. Proceedings of an International Conference Held by the Rural Education Research and Development Centre (Townsville, Queensland, Australia, July 10-15, 1994); see RC 020 376.