|M.Sc Student||Ofen Shlomit|
|Subject||"To Talk or not to Talk": Exploring Early Adopters' Inner|
Dilemma Caused by their Need for Uniqueness
|Department||Department of Industrial Engineering and Management||Supervisors||Dr. Sarit Moldovan|
|Dr. Yael Steinhart|
|Full Thesis text|
In the diffusion of innovation literature, early adopters are considered to have a key role in accelerating the adoption of innovative products and leading to their success, mainly through interpersonal communication of word of mouth. However, as it appears in the literature, scant attention has been paid to the understanding of the early adopters underlying motivations for this communication. The current research explores the counter intuitive role of need for uniqueness, namely, a positive need to be different relative to other people, in directing early adopters' motivation for communication.
Existing literature on the need for uniqueness implies that possessing elevated need for uniqueness may lead individuals to experience the presence of two desires that may be contradicting: on the one hand they desire others to be aware of their new product adoption in order to emphasize their uniqueness; but on the other hand, they desire that others will not adopt the product themselves, so that they could maintain their uniqueness. The current research integrates these contradicting desires, along with the early adopters' tendency to perceive themselves as affecting products success. It proposes that early adopters possessing elevated need for uniqueness will experience an inner dilemma of whether to tell or not to tell others about their new product, and if to do so, then to what extent and nature.
Results of two studies confirmed the existence of this inner dilemma among early adopters possessing elevated need for uniqueness in both general and specific consumption contexts. Capturing this aspect in the early adopters underlying motivations for communication holds important theoretical contribution to the understanding of the early adopters' role in the diffusion of innovations process, as well as important practical implications.