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Diffusion Of Locally Developed Applications Across The United States Judiciary
Dieth, Edmund Warren
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Current literature suggests that networks impact the diffusion of innovations. This dissertation seeks to uncover the reasons behind diffusion patterns of locally developed applications (LDAs) across the United States judiciary. Due to a lacuna in the relevant diffusion literature, the effects of professional networks on diffusion patterns are of particular interest in this study. Professional networks include inter-agency networks, national organizational networks, or external personal-professional networks. LDAs are products, mostly software, created within a judicial district to enhance its effectiveness or efficiency. Often these applications are developed to address an internal issue in a district. However, the issue is not typically unique to an individual district, but one that is prevalent across the entire judiciary. There have been instances when LDAs have been adopted by other districts seeking solutions to similar problems. This dissertation seeks to determine the factors that influence the spread of LDAs amongst federal district clerk's offices just as previous researchers have with respect to hybrid corn seed amongst rural farmers (Ryan & Gross 1943), tetracycline prescriptions by physicians (Coleman, Katz, and Menzel 1966), and the adoption of state lotteries (Berry and Berry 1991). In particular, this study answers the following questions about the diffusion of innovations in the United States judiciary: (1) Do the professional networks of judiciary decision makers influence the adoption of LDAs?; (2) What characteristics of the professional networks of judiciary decision makers influence the adoption of LDAs?; and (3) To what extent are regional or national interaction diffusion models applicable to the professional networks of judiciary decision makers? Although data was collected and analyzed as to internal determinants, the effects of structural, cultural, and personal characteristics are controlled in this research.The literature suggests that networks have a positive effect on the diffusion of innovations, and this research uses a cross-sectional survey of chief deputy district court clerks to gather and analyze data using a sociogram and linear regressions in hopes of contributing to the literature in terms of the effects of professional networks on diffusion. The analyses suggest that network ties have a positive relationship with the adoption of LDAs, in that, discovery of the LDA during the awareness stage and the ultimate adoption of the LDA at the end of the persuasion stage are influenced by networks. For those connected via networks, this study shows that the number of networks in which the respondent is involved positively impacts the number of LDAs adopted. However, it finds that the network type, mode, and frequency of contact have no bearing on adoption. Additionally, this study finds that the "go to" network connections of decision makers can be seen to influence diffusion patterns of LDAs, and that national interaction networks and jurisdictional networks are more influential than regional networks.