BROWNLEE, DON ROBERT; PHD

                         THE UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS AT AUSTIN, 1982

                         SPEECH COMMUNICATION (0459)

                         The diffusion of ideas among members of a social system is effected by the communication structure of
                         that system. This dissertation identifies specific characteristics of communication structure and tests their
                         impact on the rate of diffusion of an innovation. The system chosen for this research is composed of the
                         supreme courts of the 48 contiguous American states. The communication structure of this system is
                         generated by mapping a random sample of the citations among these courts during the period from 1935
                         to 1977. Six hypotheses were constructed to test the effect of system integration, interaction, and
                         homophily on the rate of diffusion of blood alcohol tests, a judicial innovation. Support was found for the
                         hypotheses that posited a negative relationship between interaction and the time required for adoption
                         of the innovation. Likewise, the hypotheses that suggested a positive relationship between integration
                         and adoption time were supported by the analysis. No support was provided for the Hypothesis that
                         projected a negative relationship between homophily and the speed of adoption.


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