Purpose – This exploratory study seeks to identifythe factors that influence the adoption and diffusion of instructional technology at five prominent universities in the UK. The study aims to examine the organisational factors that enable and inhibit organisational adoption and diffusion of innovation. Design/methodology/approach – A qualitative exploratory case approach has been adopted to address the research question. In total, 36 semi‐structured interviews were conducted at five universities in the UK. The five diverse approaches to adoption and diffusion of instructional technology were examined; top‐down, integrated top‐down, bottom‐up, research‐driven and project‐driven approach. Findings – For this research eLearning is conceptualised as innovation situated in the interplay between structure and individual and how this leads to adoption and diffusion. The paper argues that senior management need to acknowledge the need to bridge the gap between “local context” and top‐down strategic change. The findings suggest that there are tensions between “signification of meaning”, “power and dominance” and cultural norms in adoption and diffusion of eLearning. Research limitations/implications – The implications of the research are significant in understanding the diversity of approaches to the adoption and diffusion of elearning. This provides insight for other universities in successfully managing the application of e‐learning. Originality/value – Giddens's structuration theory provided a sensitising framework for understanding the dialectical nature of adoption of eLearning within five universities in the UK. The tensions between institutional structures, such as strategies, training, access to technology, technical support and time resources, and levels of adoption can be captured by dialectic of control in Giddens's Theory of Structuration.
Campus-Wide Information Systems – Emerald Publishing
Published: Aug 30, 2011
Keywords: United Kingdom; Universities; Influence; Training; Flexibility