Presentation of the ACR Fellow in Consumer Behavior Award

John G. Myers, University of California, Berkeley
[ to cite ]:
John G. Myers (1987) ,"Presentation of the ACR Fellow in Consumer Behavior Award", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 14, eds. Melanie Wallendorf and Paul Anderson, Provo, UT : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 5-6.

Advances in Consumer Research Volume 14, 1987      Pages 5-6

PRESENTATION OF THE ACR FELLOW IN CONSUMER BEHAVIOR AWARD

John G. Myers, University of California, Berkeley

It is a great pleasure to be standing before you today to speak on behalf of the Association in presenting its Fellow in Consumer Behavior Award. Before reviewing the contributions of the person we are about to honor, I want to say a few words about the nature and significance of the award itself.

The purpose of the ACR Fellow award is to recognize those whose contributions have made a significant impact on scholarly work in consumer behavior. This is the Association's "Nobel Prize." Regretfully, the King of Sweden could not be here today to honor our recipient' The point is that in spirit, if not yet in the substance of prestige and monetary benefits that go along with a Nobel Prize, the ACR Fellow award is the highest honor we can bestow on a scholar in the field.

The selection of an ACR Fellow is a complex and difficult process. It involves canvassing the membership of the Association, committee meetings, conference calls, presentations to the Board, much discussion and vigorous debate. As chairman of the committee, I offer you the untestable proposition that anyone who makes it through this rigorous evaluation process should receive the award, regardless of their contributions to the field!

Another measure of its significance is the quality of the people who have received it in the past. In 1980, the first year it was given, the recipients were John Howard and James Engel. Two years later in 1982, George Katona, Robert Ferber, and Sidney Levy received the award. In 1984, Harold Kassarjian and William Wells were honored. Today we are here to honor Everett Rogers as he joins this prestigious circle of consumer behavior scholars.

Ev, as he is affectionately called by many friends, has a particularly exciting paper to present today called "The Critical School and Consumer Research." I will try to restrain my enthusiasm for elaborating on his contributions so we can hear what promises to be a delicious dessert. Like many prior ACR Fellows, it is important to appreciate that beyond the enormous contributions evidenced in his writings and published record, is a human being. He is approachable, articulate, sensitive, and has influenced the lives of thousands of students, colleagues and professionals in his roles as teacher, researcher. consultant, administrator, and "friend."

Like George Katona, we are honoring someone today, who has not seen the wisdom of working on consumer behavior under the protective umbrella of a Business School and a Marketing Department. On the other hand, it is safe to say that the majority of ACR members who work on consumer behavior within this university setting know or have been influenced by his work.

Everett M. Rogers is a sociologist whose theoretical and empirical work in mass communications, diffusion of innovations, and personal influence has significantly influenced the development of these subjects in consumer behavior. His work has impacted academic and professional researchers in business, government, and nonprofit organizations. His research and writing has influenced the implementation of policy and legislation at the federal government level, improved the management and efficiency of nonprofit organizations, and significantly extended our understanding of new product diffusion and adoption processes in the private sector.

He received his B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. degrees from Iowa State University. Prior to entering academic life, he was on active duty with the U.S. Air Force and rose to the position of Captain. His first formal academic appointment was as Assistant Professor and later Associate Professor of Rural Sociology at Ohio State University where he served from 1957-1963. A book which profoundly influenced consumer research, Diffusion of Innovations, was completed during his tenure at OSU and published in its first edition in 1962. From OSU, he moved to Michigan State where he served as Associate Professor and Professor of Communication from 1964-1973. He joined the faculty of the University of Michigan in 1973 and served as Professor of Population Planning and Journalism there until 1975. His next appointment was as the Janet M. Peck Professor of International Communication, Institute for Communication Research, Stanford University. While at Stanford, he was a Co-Principal Investigator of the Stanford Heart Disease Prevention Project. This project is still perhaps the most significant effort ever undertaken to apply mass communication and medical health principles and procedures to a far-reaching and significant social problem. From Stanford, Rogers moved to his present position at the University of Southern California where he is Associate Dean of Doctoral Studies and Walter H. Annenberg Professor of Communications at the Annenberg School of Communications.

Ev is a prolific writer and a highly productive scholar. His articles and books span the subjects of communication, innovation, diffusion, adoption, and similar processes. The diversity of topics and areas to which he has applied theory and method from these theoretical roots is most striking and extends to the international as well as the national sphere. Some examples are transportation (van pooling), solar energy, mass transit, health technology, hurricanes, Kentucky Green Thumb Videotex, adoption of home computers, medical research, the role of "demonstrations," television in Latin America, cross-cultural studies, and many others. He has written, co-authored, or edited 19 books, currently has original writing done for 18 chapters in books, and between 1977 and 1985 alone has published 38 articles in American and foreign journals. He sits on the Editorial Boards of 12 journals, was President of the International Communication Association, 1980-81, is a Fellow in the American Sociological Association, International Communication Association, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and has held a number of other honors and appointments such as Fulbright Scholar, Lefrak Lecturer in Urban Studies at Maryland, and Visiting Professorships in Latin America.

Let me read you a few titles of recently published articles and have you note the scope and diversity of these contributions:

"Re-Invention in the Innovation Process" (co-author), Knowledge, 1980.

"Communication and Development in the People's Republic of China," Educational Broadcasting International, 1980.

"Communication Networks and Political Behavior," Communication, 1980.

"Manipulation and Mass Communication: Lessons From Research on the Diffusion of Innovations " Mass Communication, 1981.

"A Cross-Cultural Study of Consensus Development Process in Sweden and the United States" (co-author), Journal of the American Medical Association, 1982.

"The Flow of Television Programs in Latin America" (co-author), Communication Research, 1984.

"The Beijing Audience Survey" (co-author), Communication Research, 1985.

"The Diffusion of Home Computers Among Households in Silicon Valley," Marriage and Family Review, 1985.

"Computers and Communication" (co-author), Information and Behavior, 1985.

"The Role of the Research University in the Information Society," Keio Communication Review, 1985.

"Interdependencies Among Uses of a New Communications Technology," ACR Proceedings, 1985.

"The Critical School and Consumer Research," ACR Annual Conference. Toronto, Canada, 1986.

And here are the titles of just eight of his more well-known books:

Social Change in Rural Society, Appleton-Century-Crofts, 1960.

Diffusion of Innovations, Free Press, 1962 (second edition published in 1983).

Modernization Among Peasants: The Impact of Communication (co-author), Holt, Rinehart, and Winston. 1969.

Communication Strategies for Family Planning, Free Press, 1973.

Communication in Organizations (co-author), Free Press, 1976.

Silicon Valley Fever: The Growth of High-Technology Culture (co-author), Basic Books, 1984.

Communication Technology, Free Press (in press).

Research Methods and New Media, Free Press (in preparation).

Not only are these works widely circulated and quoted within the United States, but they have been translated and made available in numerous foreign editions. It is no small accomplishment to have what you have written being read in Japanese, Spanish, Russian, Chinese, French, Swedish, Italian, Korean, and Arabic! Not content to just teach, consult, and publish books and articles, he is the co-founder and vice president of a company, Cognos Associates, in Los Altos, California.

Ev is not alone among behavioral scientists in the diversity and richness of his contributions, but he has had a particularly important impact on consumer researchers in understanding personal influence and diffusion processes. In my view, this book on Diffusion of Innovations is particularly noteworthy. Although some might argue that the foundation for this stream of research is better attributed to Katz and Lazarsfeld's Personal Influence published in 1955, or Schramm's classic 1961 articles on communication, Rogers' book in 1962 did much to legitimatize and give credibility to this important subject.

Among other things, the book extended the basic two-step flow ideas of personal influence into a fully developed stage theory of the process, and provided a host of testable propositions derived from the theory. Research on consumer diffusion and adoption processes, opinion leadership, and empirical studies of many related constructs during the 1960s and 1970s by people such as Sheth, Silk, Bauer, Myers, Nicosia, King, Kassarjian, Pessemier, Montgomery, Arndt, Robertson, Engel, and many others, drew heavily on Rogers' theories and methodology. Although not so obvious, the quantitative stream of diffusion research by people such as Bass and Midgley also draws on this classic work. Robertson's excellent Innovative Behavior and Communication, published in 1971, was much affected by it. In sum, the established stream of research on diffusion, adoption, mass communication, and related processes within the consumer behavior field has been significantly affected by Everett Rogers and his works.

Ev, on behalf of the Association, it gives me great pleasure to present you with an ACR Fellow in Consumer Behavior Award. Please receive this handsome plaque inscribed as follows:

The Association for Consumer Research presents the Fellow in Consumer Behavior Award to Everett M. Rogers for his pioneering work in consumer behavior, personal influence, and diffusion of innovation processes.

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