Article: Why Consumers Resist Innovation – part two

Author: KISS Communications
Date: KISS Communications

In the first part of this series, Daniela explored reasons behind active innovation resistance – why people do not adopt new products. The second part now looks at passive innovation resistance – another form of innovation resistance that occurs prior to the actual decision making process. 

The key idea of passive innovation resistance is that consumers do not resist a product but rather the change that the innovation requires. This means, consumers may not even consider buying technological innovations if they have a high ‘inclination to resist change’ or a high ‘status quo satisfaction’.

Passive innovation resistance can be subdivided into different types, dependent on the degree of a consumer’s ‘inclination to resist change’ and ‘status quo satisfaction’.

Dual passive resistance has the strongest negative effect on new product adoption and occurs if consumers have both a high inclination to resist change and a high status quo satisfaction.

Low passive innovation resistance creates the best preconditions for the adoption of innovations. In this case consumers are not particularly satisfied with the status quo and they are open to behavioural changes, which is an advantageous combination for the adoption process.

Whether or not individuals are likely to resist change is driven by elements such as routine seeking, cognitive rigidity, emotional reaction to imposed change and short term focus. Consumers who show high levels on any of these dimensions are also more likely to resist change. Status quo satisfaction in contrast is dependent on the degree of emotional attachment to existing products and the degree to which consumers feel a need for innovation.

In order to successfully overcome innovation resistance, marketers need to consider both active and passive innovation resistance, depending on their target audience. In part three of this series, Daniela will give an overview of ways to address the different types of innovation resistance.

6 Heidenreich, S. and Kraemer, T., 2016. Innovations—Doomed to Fail? Investigating Strategies to Overcome Passive Innovation Resistance. Journal of Product Innovation Management, 33 (3), pp.277-297.
7 Heidenreich & Kraemer, 2016.
8 Oreg, S., 2003. Resistance to Change: Developing an Individual Differences Measure. Journal of Applied Psychology, 88 (4), pp.680-693.

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