Technology Adoption Framing: How Established Organizations’ Use of Strategic Public Language Affects Infomediaries’ Support for Discontinuous Technologies
How do incumbent firms influence infomediaries’ evaluations regarding the adoption of a discontinuous technology? We theorize that infomediaries perceive conflicts of interest and information asymmetries when an incumbent embraces a discontinuous technology. We then build on the impression management literature to argue that incumbents can, however, reduce these negative perceptions and gain more favorable assessments by using strategic public language. We differentiate between two categories: Attributive technology adoption framing rationalizes the adoption of a discontinuous technology by referring to a locus of causality and to management control; associative technology adoption framing links the technology with alternative technological schemas, the focal firm’s intertemporal external identities, and infomediaries’ norms. Overall, we offer new explanations for why incumbents can overcome inertia and adopt discontinuous technologies aggressively and flexibly.
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