Instrumental and Non-instrumental Factors of Social Innovation Adoption

Research paper by Martin Dietrich, Matti Znotka, Hannah Guthor, Florian Hilfinger

Indexed on: 19 Jul '16Published on: 08 Sep '15Published in: VOLUNTAS: International Journal of Voluntary and Nonprofit Organizations


We investigate social innovation adoption and extend instrumental factors of adoption intention by including non-instrumental factors. We argue that, from a market-based perspective, conventional innovation adoption models based on instrumental factors do not fully consider specific characteristics of social innovations. Our objective is to improve the explanatory power of conventional adoption models by including symbolic, emotional, and motivational factors as non-instrumental factors. We conducted two empirical studies in which we investigated younger adults’ adoption intentions regarding time-bank-based senior cooperatives. The results extend the findings of conventional adoption research and show that explanatory power can be substantially improved by including non-instrumental factors. The results contribute to the understanding of social innovation adoption and indicate limited generalizability of conventional innovation adoption research to social innovations. Implications and directions for future research are discussed.