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Abstract

Although contemporary technology adoption theories incorporate societal norms or peer references, it is unclear to what extent these factors influence choices. In this research, we apply institutional theory and the concept of mimetic isomorphism as peer influences to the technology evaluation process to determine the degree to which managers conform when selecting between competing information technologies. More specifically, we test if peer influence is sufficient to overcome a product evaluation where the choice is believed to be inferior. An experiment is conducted using the World Wide Web and a national sample of 348 senior information technology and business decision makers. Significant effects are found where inferior technologies are selected if respondents are informed that competitors have selected them. Further research is warranted to investigate the presence and extent of these effects but overall implications are that product evaluations may be more ornamental than substantive.

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