DRAZIN, ROBERT; PHD

                         UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA, 1982
                         BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION, MANAGEMENT (0454)

                         The study of the role of professionals in organizational innovation has been dominated theoretically and
                         empirically by a Structural--Functional perspective. This viewpoint argues that professionals engage in
                         innovation based on collegial exposure and due to a value system oriented to the development of
                         knowledge. The more an individual is oriented toward their profession the more innovative they and their
                         employing organizations are expected to be. This perspective has been criticized as being deficient in
                         three areas; treating professionalism as uni-dimensional, ignoring the role of organizational context, and
                         treating all innovations studied as the same. A competing, Dialectic perspective addresses these
                         limitations. Professionals are expected to prefer different types of innovations based on differences in
                         organizational context that have implications for the maintenance of their power and autonomy. This
                         dissertation addresses the relative predictability of each model, and the relevance of a conceptual
                         synthesis between the models. Each perspective is developed as a separate model and tested in a field
                         survey design. The sample consists of 579 members of a professional association and 10 innovations in
                         the process of diffusion. Multidimensional Scaling is used to develop individual differences in
                         preferences. Analysis of variance and canonical correlation are used to compare the two models. The
                         Structural--Functional model is capable of predicting differences in preference for innovations based on
                         the attributes of Professional Status, Trial Use and Complexity. The Dialectic model predicts difference
                         based on the attributes of Novelty, Compatibility, Trial Use and Complexity. The Dialectic model was only
                         a slightly better predictor than the Structural--Functional model. These results suggest a possible
                         conceptual synthesis that focuses on the professionals relationship to both the professional group and
                         to external groups threatening the professionals autonomy. Both perspectives appear necessary to fully
                         understand innovation preference formation among members of a professional community.

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