The Vision Integration Process: Applying Rogers’ Diffusion of Innovations Theory to Leader-Follower Communications

Document Type



Behavioral and Organizational Sciences (CGU), Drucker School of Management (CGU)

Publication Date



Leadership Studies


Involving followers in the communication of a new vision can be critical to its ultimate adoption. Viewing vision as a relatively novel guiding framework that may or may not “diffuse” throughout an organization, we apply Roger’s (2003) Diffusion of Innovationsmodel to the visioning process. Employees from a large supermarket chain (n = 1481) completed surveys concerning vision knowledge, perceptions of the vision’s innovation characteristics (i.e. relative advantage, compatibility, trialability, observability, and complexity), bidirectional leader–follower communication about the vision, perceived integration of the vision into work behaviors, and organizational commitment. Perceptions of the innovation characteristics of the vision were related to both vision integration and commitment. Based on our findings, we argue that a new vision can be conceptualized as an innovation, in which followers are actively involved in decisions of adoption or rejection. We advocate a more balanced approach to vision integration that highlights both leader and follower roles.

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© 2013 SAGE Publications