So far we have considered how human behaviour is guided and directed by perception, learning, socialization, attitude and also by values, beliefs, and customs. Socialization includes perception and learning and helps the individual to regulate his behaviour in such a manner as to be accepted as a member of the society. We have also considered how motivation is responsible for decision making and behaviour. For the many day to day activities that we are engaged in our behaviour is mainly influenced by socialization. We try to do things by imitations or by compliance.
In the course of one's life situations occur now and then when a change may become necessary with regard to a particular behaviour or event. It may so happen that some one in the society has come out with the new ideas which according to his perception and experience may be advantageous not only to himself but to all others. However, being a new idea which has not been known by the others it may not carry conviction or appeal to others immediately as useful. Various discoveries and inventions have occurred in the world in the past and have had an impact on the people.
In the progress of mankind inventions have played a significant part in making life moor productive, more comfortable and more enjoyable. We have seen the introduction of various things like electricity, aero-plane, television, automobiles, etc. introduced for use by us. These are the invention. An invention is defined as a production of a new method of an art or a kind of instrument previously unknown. Similarly there have been many discoveries. Discoveries. Discovery is defined as the unpremeditated finding of something new. It is a shared human perception of an aspect of reality which already exists. For example, discovery of a geographical country, discovery of natural phenomenon in physics, chemistry, natural science, mathematics, etc. In the light of the meaning of discovery, inventing can be understood as a purposeful discovery. It is a new way of doing a thing or finding out a new contrivance or device or article for use.
When new things are brought out to the society they are not immediately accepted and liked by all. In fact very often the discovery or invention may even be looked down upon or criticized and opposed. At that stage the new idea may be considered as something abnormal or contrary to the culture and, therefore, considered as a social deviation. For example, when 'Sati' was an accepted traditional Hindu custom for a long time the reformation brought out by the abolition or Sati by Raja Ram Mohan Ray was immediately considered as sacrilege. It took some time for the society to understand the sense behind the reformation and to accept it as useful and worthwhile. Another similar example of an innovation is the widow remarriage in Hindu society.
The introduction of new ideas for acceptance by others in the society is known as innovation. Innovation is an idea perceived as new; it is any thought or behaviour or thing that is new and different from existing norms. When innovations are made known by any individual or any agency in the community the group as a whole will absorb this idea and utilize it for the necessary change of practice or behaviour is known in sociology as the 'adoption process'. According to the dictionary 'adoption' means to take an idea from some one else. It means the acceptance of a new idea and putting it into practice. There is another meaning in the dictionary for adoption. It refers to taking something as one's own. We are already familiar with this meaning. We had known of adoption of a child, adoption of property, adoption of a village, etc. In sociology or in the context of behavioural sciences adoption means taking of a decision to accept and to continue full use of an innovation.
The adoption process is the mental process through which an individual passes from first seeing or hearing about an innovation to its final adoption by change of behaviour. It may be appreciated that adoption though a mental process to start with, has also a physical aspect attached to it when the behaviour has been manifested.
It may be further appreciated that adoption has a great deal to do with the trying into use or practice of material and non-material cultural traits. To cite and example in a primitive society there was no idea of any writing or drawing, etc. These ideas came later and along with them the materials used for writing were also invented. Both the idea of writing a language as a script and also the use of paper, pencil, pen, black board, chalk piece have been adopted. In the emerging society, the introduction of currency coins and notes was another innovation which has been widely accepted. Society has adopted many means of communication which have been invented. People have migrated to new lands that have been discovered and have adopted the idea of living there after the discovery was made.
Thus we see that anything that is found out as new is perceived by others and after proper judgment about its utility or gain the idea is adopted for future use. Further, in decision making which we have already considered in the previous chapter, adoption includes in it a few stages of mental process. In fact adoption is not dissimilar to decision making because it implies the making of a decision to take up some thing new. The essential factor which influences adoption are the cognitive factor and the analytical and judgment factors. Beside adoption like decision making though an individual affair is largely influenced by the group opinion or group sanction.
Five stages of adoption process have been described in the Roger's model. They are—awareness, interest, evaluation, trial, and adoption. These stages are only a conceptual model to facilitate the understanding of how an innovative idea can get internalized and accepted or adoption or rejected by an individual. Any idea does not immediately find its translation into action, particularly if it involves a change of behaviour or use of new devices, material, instruments, etc.
The process of adoption is a very complex affair because the mind has to think about it many times and in many stages. For the sake of understanding the mode of working of the mind towards adoption, the Roger's model is usually taken up as a common phenomenon. Whether the mind really goes through these stages or not for every adoption is somewhat questionable. However it would seem logical to understand the process of adoption after going through these stages.
1. The Awareness stage. For any new idea (innovation or invention) a person has first to be made aware of the emergence of that idea. For example, a person who takes up tennis should first know that there is a game called tennis. He may know it from conversation with others and his peer group or from any printed materials, magazines and books or from cinema, T.V., etc A case of tuberculosis may become aware of the possibilities of treatment by specific drugs and the possibilities of diagnosis by sputum examination, X-ray examination, etc. before that he has also to be aware that the symptoms that he is suffering from may be due to a tubercular infection in him.
2. The Interest stage. It is natural that a person who has just been exposed to particular information may begin showing ether a positive or negative interest about that fact or information. If he is already opposed to that idea or he has a prejudice against it he will not make any effort to seek further information about it. Whereas if the first information which created the awareness suits his interests and need, he is likely to seek further information to satisfy not only his curiosity but to ensure that the information is of relevance and The person interested in the construction of a building of his desire and choice, goes about meeting people concerned with house-building and tries to collect as much information as possible. Similarly in the second example, the case of tuberculosis who has got already and inkling or an idea that he can be diagnosed and treated makes effort to find out further details about the treatment particulars, the places where such treatment is available, the persons who can give such treatment; the after effects and so on.
3. The Evaluation stage. Based on the information that has been collected as means to the solution of the problems the individual exercises his mind to analyze various plus and minus points and also the utilitarian gain immediately as well for long-term and above all, the opinion or support that he has to get from the family and community. As has been mentioned on many occasions previously the individual is always worried in his own self and also the significance to others. Therefore, this stage is a very difficult on e for the individual.
Again taking the previous examples in the case of the house the person is anxious that the house he is contemplating to build is not going to be criticized as outlandish or very ultra-modern or ugly or cheap. He will definitely consult others before he finalizes his design. He may not consult it directly but he will make discreet inquiries to know the feeling of others. If any changes are suggested which are appealing to his sense he will immediately make them so as not to give room for any unhealthy criticism later on. Apart from this the evaluation stage will mainly consist of analysis of the costs involved, the type of material to match the financial resources, the architectural beauty, and convenience of the family members and so on.
In the second example of tuberculosis case, the patient consults the doctor or the nurse or Para-medical worker and also cases already under treatment or who have been cured by treatment and will gather all the information necessary to know whether it is worthwhile for him to go in for such a treatment or think of some other way of getting relief. If the doctor or nurse or health worker is able to convince him about a radical cure and recovery of good health at low cost and without much difficulty for collecting medicine, etc., the patient may decide in favor of allopathic.