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A systematic review of the efficacy of theories used to understand farmers’ technology adoption behavior in lower-to-middle-income countries

Lookup NU author(s): Ransford Karbo, Professor Lynn FrewerORCiD, Dr Francisco ArealORCiD, Dr Glyn Jones



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


A systematic review was conducted to identify the relevant theoretical approaches used to explain farmer technology adoption in low- and middle-income countries (LMICS), and their strengths and weaknesses. Scopus and Web of Science databases were searched. 77 articles were finally included. The analysis was based on the following categorization of the theoretical approaches applied: (1) Diffusion theories, (2) User acceptance theories, (3) Decision-making theories, (4) Personality theories, and (5) Organizational structure theories. The analysis indicated that diffusion theories predicted technology adoption but excluded social determinants. User acceptance theories predicted social determinants of adoption intention but not behaviours. Decision-making theories identified measurement variables related to different adoption behaviours, but did not consider influential psychological factors, (implying that only economic factors affected adoption behaviour). Personality theories were sometimes complex, resulting in weak predictability of adoption and behaviours. Organizational structure theories emphasized social structure variables but included variables not relevant to the investigation of specific adoption practices. In conclusion, the predictive and explanatory capability of different theoretical approaches depended on the context of agricultural technology adoption. Keywords: psychology; economics; theoretical approaches; agricultural technology; crop; low-to-middle-income countries.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Teng-viel Karbo R, Frewer l, Areal F, Jones G, Nurudeen S

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Development Studies Research

Year: 2024

Volume: 11

Issue: 1

Online publication date: 03/01/2024

Acceptance date: 08/12/2023

Date deposited: 11/12/2023

ISSN (electronic): 2166-5095

Publisher: Taylor & Francis Group Ltd.


DOI: 10.1080/21665095.2023.2294696


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Funder referenceFunder name
Ghana Education Trust Fund GETFUND Scholarship