Document Type

Thesis - University Access Only

Award Date


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department / School

Sociology and Rural Studies


The research problem for this study was to determine to what extent organizational size, organizational complexity and organizational social ties impacted the creation of an organizational Web page and its relative time of adoption among the organizational members of the chamber of Commerce in a small Midwest city. The research utilized a cross-sectional design, with data being gathered via a self-administered mail survey. The survey was sent to all of the 365 organizational members of the Chamber of Commerce who constituted the study population. A total of 173 surveys were completed and returned for a response rate of 48.60%. Three theories provided a foundation for this research study: a network theory developed by Barry Wellman; the diffusion of innovations theory developed by Everett Rogers; and a structural differentiation theory of formal organizations developed by Peter Blau. These Three theories provided the rationale for the testing of the relationship of three independent variables with two dependent variables. The variables in this study combined to form six theoretical propositions from which six hypotheses were derived. These hypotheses were tested for significance using standard statistical measures. Two independent variables proved to be statistically significant in terms of predicting whether an organization would have a Web page: 1) organizational size measured by the number of paid employees; and 2) organizational complexity indexed by the number of unique job descriptions, number of physical locations in Minnesota, and whether the organization has physical locations in other states. Only two indicators of the organizational complexity independent variable were found to be statistically significant related to the timing of Web page adoption, the second dependent variable. Those two were the number of unique job descriptions the organization has and whether the organization has physical locations in other states. Based on the results of this study, a synthetic theory of diffusion was developed by this researcher. In brief it is an integrated theory that synthesizes or combines the most explanatory aspect of the three theories which underlie it. The results of this research provide practical information to formal organizations considering the adoption of an organizational Web page.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Diffusion of innovations

Technological innovations

Web sites -- Minnesota -- Design


Organizational sociology



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University



Rights Statement

In Copyright