Reconceptualizing Temporal Innovativeness as the attitudinal measure of temporal preference Dr Stephen Dann Abstract Traditionally examined as a self reported

behavioural measure of speed of adoption of an existing innovation (Rogers, 1995), this paper demonstrates the use of temporal innovativeness as a self report measure of the speed to which a person intends to adopt an innovation. The reconceptualisation of temporal innovativenss as “temporal preference” creates an opportunity to merge the fields of “time of adoption” and “latent personality trait” research to examine the role of preferred speed of adoption in innovation diffusion Innovativeness and time of adoption Innovativeness is conceptualised as either a measure of actual behaviour (Rogers, 1995) or as a measurable personality trait (Gärling and Thøgersen, 2001). In terms of actual behaviour, Rogers (1995) viewed speed of adoption as the core platform of innovativeness. Personality trait based innovativeness has been variously associated with innate innovativeness (Hirschman, 1980) domain specific innovativeness (Goldsmith & Hofacker, 1991; Goldsmith & Flynn, 1992) cognitive style (Venkatraman, 1991) and temporal innovativeness (Mittelstaedt et al. 1976). Temporal innovativeness concerns the individual's desire to trial, experience or acquire an innovation within a short period of time after the introduction of the innovations to the social system. It has been alternatively represented as a measure of time of adoption and/or as a latent personality construct. In order to establish clarity, Rogers' (1995) measure of actual behaviour is referred to as "time of adoption", Mittelstaedt (1976) "latent personality trait", and the new conceptualisation as "temporal preference". The use of time of adoption as a conceptual measure of innovativeness has support from a narrow band of research within the innovation adoption field (Warren, Abercrombie and Berl, 1988). The majority of authors reviewed who engaged in conceptualisations of innovativeness identified their conceptual work as part of the latent personality trait system. However, examination of several scales and research instruments used to operationalise much of the latent personality traits research revealed numerous temporally orientated items, indicating that the concept of relative time was supported operationally, even if not acknowledged conceptually (Hurt, Joseph & Cook, 1977; Goldsmith & Hofacker, 1991). Only a very small proportion of the authors reviewed supported the use of a conceptual basis of time of adoption. Mittelstaedt, Grossbart, Curtis and Devere (1976) supported the use of time as an underlying factor in the identification of innovative behaviours. Labay and Kinnear (1981) also supported the use of time of adoption as an observable, operational definition of an innate innovativeness concept. Finally, Ram and Jung (1994) argued for the use of time of adoption as a surrogate measure of purchase innovativeness. There is broad support found for the concept of using a measure of time of adoption or relative speed of adoption as an indicator of innovative behaviour. Even in cases

where authors were actively opposed to time of adoption theory, temporally orientated questions were found in the measurement items that were proposed to measure alternative conceptualisation of innovativeness. Despite conceptual support, either directly or indirectly, the primary criticism of time of adoption theory remains the operationalisation of the concept. Time of adoption theory was operationalised as "relative time of adoption" whereby assessments of innovativeness were based on the elapsed time between the introduction of an innovation into the social system and the consumer's self reported time of purchase. Midgley and Dowling (1978) criticised this operationalised definition as lacking in the ability to be generalised, content validity and being open to numerous recall biases. Later authors, particularly Hirschman (1980), Goldsmith (1990-91), Goldsmith and Hofacker (1991), Venkatraman (1991) and Goldsmith and Flynn (1992) focused on the criticisms concerning recall bias, measurement error and non predictive nature of the data. Recall biases were identified as including the faulty memories of the adopter and potential interviewer biases as subjects attempted to appear more innovative than they actually had been (Midgley & Dowling, 1978; Goldsmith and Flynn, 1992). Goldsmith (1990-91) argued that measures of actual behaviour failed to address the key criteria of innovativeness which they identified as being a composite of attitude and behaviour. In summary, there are two criticisms of the time of adoption innovativeness concept: first, that the operationalisation is flawed; and second, that the operationalised measure did not, and cannot capture the attitudinal component of innovativeness. The second component of the temporal preference is the use of the Midgley and Dowling (1978) theory of innovativeness as a latent personality construct. The assumption underpinning this school of research is that innovativeness is both an attitude and a behaviour (Goldsmith & Hofacker, 1991). Support for the latent personality construct theory of temporal innovativeness is found in the works of Leavitt and Walton (1975), Foxall (1989), Kirton (1989), Mudd (1990), Goldsmith and Hofacker (1991), Goldsmith and Flynn (1992), and Midgley and Dowling (1993). Latent trait theory is not a unified theory as researchers propose several different components of personality such as sensory versus cognitive processing (Venkatraman, 1991), and preference for adaption or innovation (Kirton, 1989). For the purposes of this discussion, the focus is on Midgley and Dowling's (1978) conceptualisation, rather than the sub-fields of latent theory. Deconstructing Temporal Innovativeness Temporal innovativeness as an attitudinal measure can be conceptualised as the degree to which the adopter desires to be the earliest member of their referent group to experience the innovation, and the length of time that the adopter waits before adopting a new product. Temporal innovativeness consists of two factors immediacy of experience and relative speed of adoption. Immediacy of experience relates to the degree to which the adopter is driven by a desire to trial innovations as soon as they are available. This is in part related to inherent innovativeness, although in this construct, it is expressed as a preference for speed of adoption rather than novelty seeking. Innate innovativeness relies on inherent desires for novelty and stimulation, which can be experienced independently of the speed of adoption.

Relative speed of adoption concerns the degree to which the consumer desires to trial innovations prior to other members of the social system. The nature of relative speed is that it is also heavily influenced by the individuals ability to withstand social pressure and act according to their need for innovation, ahead of their need for peer approval. Delaying innovation adoption decision to seek peer clearance or to await peer reviews of the innovation will adverse impact on the time of adoption. Reconstructing Temporal Innovativeness as Temporal Preference Temporal preference as the individual's self reported preference for earliest possible adoption of innovations is defined by examining whether the potential adopters prefer to adopt innovations before their social group does, and whether they have a preference for immediate or delayed adoption of innovations. Delayed adoption is expressed in terms of whether the individuals believe they should wait until an innovation has been on the market for an extended period, or whether they should adopt as soon as the innovation is available to them. There are two key features of this conceptual definition. First, innovative behaviour is subject to the influences of peer and societal pressure as innovators, those acting independently of communicated experiences, also act independently of social comparison information. Second, independence from communicated experience enables the individual to make innovation adoption decisions prior to communicated experience being available in the social structure. Hence, innovative individuals can be relatively early in their innovation decisions than other members of their social group because they are not waiting for nor relying upon the socially communicated experience of others. This is the major contribution of the latent personality trait theory to the definition of temporal preference - the assumption of independence from the communicated experience of others. The assumption of independence is an expression of a preference to act on innovations without regard to social comparison information. Innovators, characterised by Rogers (1983) as having lower levels of social comparison information, have already been noted as being able to act outside the norms of the social system. Temporal preference proposes that innovativeness can be expressed as an attitude towards time of adoption (Rogers and Shoemaker, 1971) and as a behavioural preference in the form of making decisions independent of socially communicated experience (Midgley and Dowling, 1978). This allows for measurement of the temporal construct as an attitudinal preference for earlier or later adoption, and as a behavioural preference for adoption before or after fellow members of the social system. This two-part conceptualisation follows Goldsmith and Hofacker's (1991) argument that measures of innovativeness must consist of both attitude and behavioural components. Development of a Measure of Temporal Preference The operationalisation of temporal preference was designed to address the specific criticisms of the time of adoption approach to innovativeness. First, it is acknowledged that the methodological flaws identified by Midgley and Dowling (1978) are both accurate and valid. With this criticism in mind, development of the temporal preference measure was based on the work of Goldsmith (1990-91) and associated authors in the development of the domain specific innovativeness scale.

Goldsmith and Hofacker (1991) identified three key components in their development of the domain specific innovativeness scale. First, the scale must be reliable and valid. Second, multiple item self report scales offer the requisite degree of flexibility to capture attitudes and behaviours within an area of research interest. Finally, multiple item measures allow for greater statistical measures of scale reliability. Following the lead of Goldsmith and associates, operationalisation temporal innovativeness focused on the construction of a multi-item self report scale which assessed attitude and behavioural preference in regard to time of adoption. Scale Item Generation Previous measures of innovativeness such as Leavitt and Walton's (1975) openness of information processing scale, Hurt, Joseph and Cook's (1977) global innovativeness scale, Danko and MacLachlan's (1983) operationalisation of "venturesomeness" and Goldsmith and Flynn's (1992) domain specific level of innovativeness scale all contain items which measure temporal innovativeness in the context of global innovativeness. The temporal innovativeness scale was adapted from two existing innovativeness scales: Leavitt and Watson's (1988) Innovativeness scale; and Goldsmith and Hofacker's (1991) Domain Specific Innovativeness scale. Items from Leavitt and Watson (1988) were selected on their assessment of temporal innovativeness, that is, the degree to which the question assessed the preferred length of delay between knowledge and adoption. Items adapted from the Goldsmith and Hofacker domain specific innovativeness were reworded to measure global level innovativeness concerning desire to acquire new products, rather than domain specific products. Scale Testing and Refinement A twelve item scale was developed for pilot testing. One change to the scale was made following pilot testing. One item (preference for established products with known history) was removed from the scale for having a low item to total correlation (.2324). The 12 item scale had an alpha score of .8369 with the revised 11 item scale having an alpha of .8422. The eleven item scale consisting of five negatively and six positively worded items in the five point Likert scale format was restested. In contrast to the initial pilot the alpha for the second study was below the expected .80 benchmark (.7810). Three items were removed after further analysis to increase the reliability of the scale to just above the .80 benchmark (.8047). As with the pilot testing, scale items with item item-total correlation scores below .3 were removed in order of the smallest scores. Removal of each item was also assessed in terms of the impact on the theoretical measure. The items removed from the scale were as follows I will wait until a product has been proven before I try it If I have a choice, I will use an older product instead of a newly released alternative

If I heard that there was a new product available, I would want to try it immediately. The first two items are negatively worded variants of items which have been retained in the scale. The third item relates to intention for immediate trial which was also captured in three other items retained in the scale. Removal of the item did not adversely affect the measurement of temporal innovativeness in regards to trial adoption. The final scale is illustrated in Table 1 Table 1. Temporal Preference Scale TIME1: The best time to try new products is as soon as they are available. TIME2: I will buy new products as soon as they are available. TIME3: Compared to my friends I wait longer to try new products.* TIME4: I prefer to wait until a product has been available on the market for a reasonable time before I would try it.* TIME5: In general, I prefer to wait for a while after a new product has been introduced before I will trial it.* TIME6: When I see a new brand on the shelf I just buy it to what it is like. TIME7: In general, I am among the first in my circle of friends to try new products when they appear. TIME8: I like to buy new products before other people do. * Item reverse scored, Alpha = .8047, n=215 Item total scores for the 8 item scale also summed to create an overall measure of temporal innovativeness with a technical range of 8 through to 40 (mean of 24). Summed item scores for the sample ranged from 12 through to 55 (mean of 27.6) and standard deviation of 7.1. The three reverse items (TIME3, 4 & 5) had the largest means, indicating a preference in the sample for later adoption of innovations. The sample prefers to wait longer for adoption than their friends (mean = 3.05), and to wait for a "while" (mean = 2.78) and a "reasonable" time (mean = 2.72) before trialling new products. Discussion The development of a temporal preference scale to measure “time of adoption” innovativeness scale contributes another method of researching and segmenting the innovator market. The scale itself is a unidimensional measure examining the four components of attitude to time of adoption; behavioural preference for time of adoption; attitude towards independent adoption and behavioural preference for independent adoption. This paper presents the theoretical framework and the results of the initial pilot testing of the study. Further testing and application of the scale is recommended to assess reliability and consistency of performance over time.


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