A Case Study of the Diffusion of Agricultural Innovations in Chimaltenango, Guatemala Academic Article uri icon


  • The adoption of appropriate innovations is an important issue in agricultural development. However many development project officers fail to use strategies to identify and select opinion leaders who can leverage the diffusion and adoption process. This case study used qualitative methods including interviews, focus groups, and observations to gather data to analyze current social networks, identify key participants, understand the roles and characteristics of leaders, and define a strategy to engage leaders within the region of Chimaltenango, Guatemala. The analysis revealed three diverse social networks; one powered by political structures in the urban and rural areas while organized groups of regional farmers powered a second type of social networks. Independent farmers shaped still other unstructured and informal networks that influenced adoption and diffusion of innovations. Data confirmed that opinion leaders have identifiable and predictable roles and characteristics within and among the networks. Therefore, the diffusion of innovation through formal and non-formal leaders represents a promising strategy for development project officers. Local leaders influence adoption decisions largely because of their recognition and respect by community members. The diffusion of innovations through opinion leaders promotes the active participation of local farmers and validates the innovation through time. Therefore, the importance of analyzing social networks and selecting opinion leaders to support the diffusion process of development projects was important in Chimaltenango, Guatemala. The authors recommend future studies to compare results from other regions and cultures in Guatemala.

published proceedings

  • Journal of International Agricultural and Extension Education

author list (cited authors)

  • Oleas, C., Dooley, K., Shinn, G., & Guisti, C.

citation count

  • 0

complete list of authors

  • Oleas, Carolina||Dooley, Kim||Shinn, Glen||Guisti, Cecilia

publication date

  • January 2010