Research Proposal: Diffusion of Innovation and Communities of Practice

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¶ … healthcare system in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has developed alongside the economy in general, as one of the most important indicators of modernization and development in that nation (Shihab, 2001; and Al Sadik, 2001). Both the economic development and the attendant development of healthcare have occurred rapidly, fueled by the exploitation of oil reserves. This has generally led to improvements in the nation's collective standard of living. However, these developments have not always been without complications. For example, because the nation has been able to skip many traditional stages of economic and industrial development and implement a fully modernized industrial-technological society in matter of a generation, it has often had to deal with difficulties associated with having the trappings of modern economic development but still having a significant part of the population that operates from traditional beliefs. When modernity and tradition clash, the ready acceptance of some technological advancements and healthful innovations has met with resistance. In order to address such resistance, research is required to determine how products and services can be made more acceptable to the various publics which consume them.

This study considered the linkage between two prominent theoretical models for academic development of marketing systems -- diffusion of innovation and communities of practice -- to the extent that these two models provide a tool for usage in analyzing and further developing the system of healthcare provision in the UAE. Through an analysis of the theoretical underpinnings of these two models and an application of the theories to the practices involved in current administration of the healthcare system in the UAE, the study develops an integrated marketing program for improving and extending healthcare to all persons in the UAE.

Research Background

Kronfell (1999), among others, argues that many of the tools for a successful healthcare system are in place in the UAE already, but that "macroeconomic" factors such as lack of professionalism and financing are at play which hamper the acceptance of the programmed options by the public. While focusing on the improvement of structural problems may improve public acceptance of the healthcare system, it is believed here that the key factors driving the reluctance to adopt new healthcare programs among the UAE public are attitudinal and practical. The research begins, therefore, from a point which holds that basic economic and cultural attitudes have a great impact on the public's acceptance of healthcare programming. Several studies were identified which supported this contention. For example Khayata (2003) found that among infertile women seeking healthcare in the UAE, their sociocultural attitudes were among the most important determinants of the degree to which they participated in treatment programs. Wuyi et al. (2004) conducted a "comprehensive assessment" of the environmental and health-related conditions in China -- another rapidly developing economy -- and found that socio-economic considerations among the public were the dominant factor in explaining the degree to which people trusted and participated in that healthcare system.

It is expected that such will also be the case in the UAE generally, and that in order to address people's reluctance to enter the healthcare system, research is first needed that can identify the healthcare system's current capacity and status related to fulfilling the health needs of the population, as well as the current perceptions of the healthcare system among both those groups who administer it and those who benefit from it. Through linking the conceptual models for diffusion of innovation and communities of practice, the research addresses both the practical and the economic implications of the healthcare system, and suggests how marketing can be used to improve each.

The Research Problem

The research problem consists of an application of two academic models for analysis to the problem of increasing acceptance of the healthcare system among the population in the UAE. Through identifying the concepts of "diffusion of innovation" and "communities of practice" generally and applying them to the situation in the UAE specifically, the research facilitates the development of a marketing model which can succeed in overcoming the gap between the reality of the UAE's healthcare system capacities and the public's distrust of the system. The primary research problem will be, therefore, how to define the UAE's healthcare capacity and marketing responsiveness in ways that show it to be ready to meet the public's demands, and also how to link practitioners and consumers in such a way that their various needs and interests are served through a more efficient and effective program development.

Methods and Assumptions

The research methods to be applied in the study consist of analysis of a variety of data sources which define the UAE healthcare system, as well as a theoretical discussion of the two marketing models. Through statistical and conceptual analysis of the UAE's system, utilizing sources that address the healthcare's demographic, professional, economic, and cultural factors, the study will present information which supports the contention that the UAE's system in its current status is increasingly capable of meeting public needs, but that the trust levels between the various interests groups involved in the system must be brought together through effective marketing in order for the system to reach its full potential impact. A variety of data sources are used, including government data banks, survey analysis, marketing and business reports, and the like.

The study is conducted with a few basic research assumptions in place:

1. The goal of the healthcare system generally is to improve the healthful conditions of the citizenry.

2. Consumer demands and public perception have a critical impact not only on what the healthcare system offers, but also on how the healthcare system is able to offer what it offers.

3. Both the diffusion of innovation model and the communities of practice model can apply across cultural boundaries and industrial sectors to the degree that they provide useful explanatory power for understanding the UAE healthcare system.

Limitations of the study

The research presented is exploratory in nature. It applies two relatively new academic concepts (diffusion of innovation and communities of practice) to a relatively new economic focus (healthcare) in a newly-developing nation (the UAE). Therefore the study will present research which outlines the general problem and provides a structure for development of solutions. However, because of the many rapidly-changing variables involved in the administration of the UAE's healthcare system, the implications of this study must be weighed primarily against their short-term impact. Such a time-bound exploratory research stance has been used effectively by Masood et al. (2008) in a study designed to determine the best way to measure quality of healthcare in the UAE. The researchers in that study developed a number of different research models and applied them to the measurement of public perceptions to determine which one had the best fit, thereby providing the fullest explanatory power.

In light of the stated limitations, it seems significant here that this study is even concerned with the marketing of healthcare in the UAE in the first place. Only a brief generation ago, it would have made very little sense to conduct such a study, since the development of the healthcare system would have been only minor, thereby making such an analysis seem trivial. Today, however, the healthcare system in the UAE seems to have reached a moment when its institutional, structural, and economic foundations are in place for a rapid expansion. Marketing provides one tool to address this. This research, while ultimately limited in scope studies this crucial marketing application.

Review of the Related Literature

In order to outline the theoretical models for understanding and marketing the UAE's healthcare system, a review of the related literature was first conducted. This review was focused around three main objectives:

1. Definition of the UAE's healthcare system in its present state.

2. Definition of the diffusion of innovation theory and application to the UAE case.

3. Definition of the communities of practice model and application to the UAE case.

The relevant findings from the related literature for each of these areas are discussed below.

UAE's Current Healthcare System

Much progress has been made in the last several decades to develop the nation's healthcare system so that the healthful conditions of the population have been able to rise with the general standard of living. For example, Shihab points out that, between 1975 and 1997, the mortality rate in the UAE dropped from 7.3 per 1000 persons to 2.1 persons, while life expectancy rose from 65 years to 74.8 years. Similarly, during the same timeframe, the nation underwent a period of healthcare facility construction (including hospitals and clinics at the local levels), as well as increased professionalization through sophisticated training and technology programs designed to improve basic healthcare delivery. Shihab claims that 99% of all UAE residents now have access to health services, and that new government policies over the last twenty years have stressed beneficial programs such as preventative healthcare, perinatal healthcare, and the like. These advances have resulted in the UAE ranking above the United States in the WHO's ranking of world healthcare… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Diffusion of Innovation and Communities of Practice.  (2010, January 19).  Retrieved July 22, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/diffusion-innovation-communities-practice/5971964

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"Diffusion of Innovation and Communities of Practice."  19 January 2010.  Web.  22 July 2019. <https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/diffusion-innovation-communities-practice/5971964>.

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"Diffusion of Innovation and Communities of Practice."  Essaytown.com.  January 19, 2010.  Accessed July 22, 2019.
https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/diffusion-innovation-communities-practice/5971964.