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The Behavior Of Business Managers When Adopting New Technologies

Y. Gagnon, J. Toulouse
Published 1996 · Economics

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Abstract The use of technology in business is no longer a matter of choice, but rather one of survival. It is, therefore, a feature of most successful operations. Hence, a better understanding of the process of adopting new technologies is both essential and urgent. Past studies emphasize the major influence of management behavior on the initiation and development of the process of adopting new technologies. Professor Howard Stevenson suggests a descriptive model of the behavior of managers. This model comprises five dimensions on a continuum with the characteristics of administrator behavior at one extreme and those of entrepreneurial behavior at the other. Using the case study method, we proceeded to observe the complete development of 11 new technology adoption processes in the same number of small- and medium-sized manufacturing firms with between 50 and 249 employees. In 10 out of the 11 cases observed, the manager behaved as an entrepreneur in the technology adoption process. Our research confirms that the advice given to foster the introduction of technologies and to manage the adoption process is adequate in the case of decision-makers who behave like administrators. Those who behave as entrepreneurs, the large majority, will never follow such advice.
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