4. The Trial Stage. In the evaluation stage he has not yet had an opportunity to try it out by himself. He has only been able to know about it from others. So in the trial stage he ventures to give it a trial and learns from that experience whether to accept the idea or not. Taking the example of the house construction he makes a beginning with some architectural design. If things are encouraging he gets convinced about the utility. Otherwise, he has to give it up an think of a new idea which may require another trial. In the case of tuberculosis patient he subjects himself to the treatment and finds out for himself whether there is any relief of symptoms. This helps him to make up his mind to continue with this treatment. If on the other hand his condition does not improve or it worsens then the danger is that he will not accept it.
5. The Adoption Stage. It is clear from the above stages that after a fair trial the individual adopts new idea or behaviour. It has also influenced by the individual's awareness, perception, attitude, value, evaluation, and trial. On the other side the individual is also influenced by the group or his significant others.
For example, in the acceptance of a sanitary latrine the individual's like or desire to have it is not enough. He wants to be sure that his neighbors do not criticize him. He has to find means of explaining to his neighbors why he adopted a latrine. In fact, this is the main dilemma of every innovator. The innovator adopts some things which he has found of genuine utility. It does take time for others in the group or community to understand and appreciate that utility. As things go on there is a chance for everyone in the community to perceive, to learn, to interact and finally understand why a particular innovation came into existence and how much it is useful. The spread of this information or idea is known as diffusion. It is this diffusion which can help in the multiplier effect of adoption.
The extension educator in any developmental program has to understand the different stages by which a person adopts a new idea. The educational effort has, therefore, to be aimed at reinforcing the ideas at each level of adoption process so that a good and useful idea gets more and more concretized and strengthened rather that reversed and dissipated.
It is in this context that we talk of rum ours. Rum ours may be genuine or good or may be bad. A rum our is any information which is passed on without any basis of factual information or verification. The rum our may be passing around as hearsay. A good rum our or a rum our that means well for the people should be. Verified for its source and credibility and used for the good purpose for which may create unnecessary disturbances, doubts or fears in the minds of the people unnecessary disturbances, doubts or fears in the minds of the people should also be traced for its source and put down immediately and sufficient mass education should be undertaken immediately to overcome the rum our.
Among adapters in any programs we come across early or quick adaptors who take an idea without much hesitation and late adaptors who take some time.
Early adaptors either have sufficient information and background experiences from what they see elsewhere or have seen or head elsewhere and are therefore fully convinced in a short time. Late adaptors take some times to go through the different stages of adoption and are, therefore, relatively late in adopting. There are eligible couples in any community who accept contraception very soon after marriage whereas some couples accept contraception after having 5 or 6 children.
Innovators are even earlier than the adaptors. The categories of adaptors are classified as innovators, early adaptors, early majority, late majority and laggards. The innovator is one who takes a bold decision to try out something really new which has not earlier been tried or experienced by any one in the society. When proved successful the innovation gets approbation. It is at this stage that the early adopters follow. There is a slight diffusion and people who happen to see the innovation show greater interest and seek information and also pass through the trial and evaluation stage and finally adopt.
The innovator is the frame of reference for the early adaptors. The people in the early majority from the usual bulk of the society which takes some time for the trial and evaluation stage. For one thing they may be sceptical even after having seen the early adaptors. They may have inadequate resources. They may have inhibitions and reservations and doubts about the utility. Therefore, they just continue to watch to see how the innovators and early adaptors fare and also how the rest of the community views the innovations. After sufficient deliberation and repeated interactions with individuals and groups and also with the early adaptors, they get gradually motivated. It is only after they get fully convinced about the personal utility and the group approval and also the feasibility, economic as well as practically that they plunge into a decision and become adaptors. The usual phenomenon in any society is for a number of people to take a unanimous decision and adopt a particular new idea. This group consisting of a large number of people is categorized as early majority.
A common example in every day is the number of transistor buyers. First in a rural community one person may have a transistor and for some time people may even be criticizing him as a snob or spend thrift or a pleasure lover, etc. Later after having seen the use of transistor some more of his friends and relatives may also buy transistors. This will gradually diffuse into the society and after some time it will become a fashion or a norm for quite a number of people who have the means to buy transistors. This group will be the early majority.
As against this there will be a set of people in the society who will still not be in favor of transistors. Again it may be due to traditional values or lack of resources or aversion to anything new. They may have many reasons to rationalize their lack of interest or inability to buy and use a transistor. However, in due course their perception will change because of their constant experience of the use of transistors by others in the society. Various influences like status symbol, pressure from the family members, influence from friends, etc. Will play on their minds and they will also feel inclined to buy, use, and enjoy the transistor. Such people who take quite a long time to fall in line with the rest of the society in adopting a new practice are called late majority.
The last group is known as laggards. The laggards are those people who are influenced strongly by traditional values, beliefs and customs and therefore do not yield to any influence for a change even if they are mentally convinced of any advantages or utility of an innovations. Their fast adherence to tradition and blind beliefs do not permit them to change. Examples can be given for adaptors of different categories and laggards in situations like, widow remarriage interacts marriage; adoption of contraception; dress; and dowry system.
We have so far discussed about stages of adoption and categories of adoption. It must be remembered that adoption is also not a final event and permanent one. In some cases it may so happen that the adoption may be maintained for sometime and later discontinued. This is called discontinuance. Discontinuance is a decision to cease the use of an innovation after previously adopting it. It may be due to various reasons like dissatisfaction, impracticability, disapproval by others, high cost, failure, etc. For example, discontinuance of condom use, discontinuance of latrine and discontinuance of medicine, treatment, etc.
Rejection, on the other hand, is a decision not to adopt an innovation, after having gone through the different stages for adoption. However, it is also possible sometimes that a summary rejection may later give rise to an adoption. This may again be due to the fact that the individual passes through the stages of evaluation and trial once again after getting further information from various resources.
If the individual decides after trial not to adopt due to dissatisfaction or doubt or fear or lack of group support or lack of resources or lack of practicability, etc., the idea not to adopt is called rejection.
The new innovations are generally more acceptable in a community if the innovations are having the
2. in keeping with the local tradition and culture,
5. Economical, and
6. Practically feasible.
The adoption of an innovation takes time for diffusion and completion in a society. The length of time required for an individual to pass through the adoption process from awareness to adoption is pass through the adoption process from awareness to adoption is known as the adoption period. This has to be found out by interrogation or interview. It is very difficult to find out because no individual will be clearly able to recollect and say when he exactly become aware of a thing and how long it took him to adopt.