A sociological perspective on the use of technology: The adoption of internet technology in U.S. organizations

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Abstract

An understanding of the meaning new technologies have for society must begin with an understanding of the types of actors that employ a given technology. While the Internet has become a rapidly expanding area of inquiry with respect to trends among individual users, there has been little systematic empirical work on the organizational characteristics related to this form of information technology. This article examines the use of Internet-based technology by U.S. organizations. An analysis of a national sample of 712 organizations in the United States surveyed in 1996 shows three significant findings: (1) financial organizations were more likely than other types of organizations to be early users of Internet-based technology; (2) CEOs with backgrounds in engineering and sales were likely to guide their organizations to make use of this type of information technology; and (3) organizations with large proportions of employees with degrees of higher education were likely to make use of Internet-based information technology. Viewed together, the results suggest that the social structure of the workplace and the specific markets in which an organization is embedded played significant roles in the spread of the Internet across U.S. organizations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)583-603
Number of pages21
JournalSociological Perspectives
Volume42
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - 1999
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science

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