THE EFFECTS OF INFOMEDIARIES, NONMARKET STRATEGIES AND CORPORATE POLITICAL ACTION ON INNOVATION ADOPTION
Reger, Rhonda K
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Strategic management research has recently become interested in the role of strategies that effect social stakeholders, such as the media, and how they affect the adoption of technological innovation. This dissertation consists of two essays that investigate how these stakeholders affect technological innovation adoption and how firms can increase the likelihood of having their products adopted by influencing these stakeholders. The first essay takes a fine-grained approach at investigating how the content of media coverage influences the adoption of wind projects in the United States wind energy industry. By focusing on certain characteristics of media coverage, I develop a theoretical framework that examines how coverage facilitates perception formation of an innovation in the market. Using content analysis, I examine certain characteristics of media coverage including media attention, positivity of tenor, issue diversity, economic & aesthetic issues and complexity of messaging, and hypothesize about the impact these characteristics have on how quickly stakeholders coalesce around a unified vision of a new technology. The second essay builds on the first essay by exploring how firms employ strategies in both social and political markets in an attempt to influence different segments of the general environment. I argue theoretically that general environmental segments, such as sociocultural and political markets, that were typically thought of as exogenous to the firm may be impacted by the firm. By introducing media specific concepts from the organizational literature and political strategies from the public policy domain to strategic management, this study investigates how firms can achieve more rapid technological innovation adoption by strategically using 1) social exchange mechanisms with the media for the facilitation of perception formation in the market and 2) corporate political activity to influence policy makers for the creation of beneficial legislation. I study both of these phenomena using a comprehensive sample of U.S. based wind projects that have either been proposed or are commercially operational between 2000 and 2009. The findings from both of these essays advance strategic management research by connecting themes from organizational research, mass communications and public policy research to help explain perception formation and technological innovation adoption in the market.