OBJECTIVE: The authors describe the complexity of social processes for implementing technological change. Once a new technology is available, information about its availability and benefits must be made available to the community of users, with opportunities to try the innovations and find them worthwhile, despite organizational resistances.
METHOD: The authors reviewed the literature from psychiatry, psychology, sociology, business, and technology to distill common denominators for success and failure related to implementing technology.
RESULTS: Beneficial technological innovations that are simple to use and obviously save everyone time and effort are easy to inaugurate. However, innovations that primarily serve management rather than subordinates or front-line utilizers may fail, despite considerable institutional effort. This article reviews and outlines several of the more prominent theoretical models governing successful institutional change.
CONCLUSIONS: Successful implementation of difficult technological changes requires visionary leadership that has carefully considered the benefits, consulted with influence leaders at all organizational levels to spot unintended consequences and sources of resistance, and developed a detailed plan and continuous quality assurance process to foster implementation over time.