Characteristics and barriers impacting the diffusion of e-extension among Texas Cooperative Extension County Extension agents
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The overall purpose of this study was to understand the influence of selected factors on the adoption of eXtension by Texas Cooperative Extension County Extension agents. Specifically, the study looked at how the relationships between stage in the innovation-decision process, characteristics of agents, characteristics of the innovation, and barriers to adoption affect the diffusion of eXtension. A random sample of 237 agents was selected for participation in the study. A majority of agents reported they were in the knowledge stage (52%); 31% had no knowledge of the innovation; 8% were in the implementation stage; 3% were in the persuasion stage; 3% were in the decision stage and 2% were in the confirmation stage. Respondents had positive perceptions of relative advantage, compatibility, complexity and trialability as those characteristics related to eXtension. They had the most positive perceptions of complexity. They did not perceive eXtension to have a high degree of observability. Agents perceived at least five barriers existed to the adoption of eXtension. Reducing or eliminating these barriers, particularly the barrier related to concerns about time, would be expected to positively affect the rate of adoption. Agents’ perceptions of complexity and compatibility significantly differed by primary agent role and gender, respectively. The differences may be attributable to varying job experiences based upon role and gender. Agents’ perceptions of a lack of eXtension incentives significantly differed by education. Significant relationships existed between selected characteristics of eXtension and potential barriers to the adoption of eXtension. Based on the findings, offering monetary incentives may increase the rate of adoption, and decrease agents’ financial concerns. Significantly more respondents reported they were in the “no knowledge” stage in the innovation-decision than would be expected to occur by chance. Agents may have ignored repeated messages about eXtension because it was not perceived as consistent with their attitudes and beliefs. This implication should be noted by those hoping to increase the diffusion of eXtension. On a broader level, these findings support expanding the model of the innovation-decision process to include the “no knowledge” stage.
Harder, Amy Marie (2007). Characteristics and barriers impacting the diffusion of e-extension among Texas Cooperative Extension County Extension agents. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from
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