How is digital infrastructure adopted and assimilated? The IPv6 story
The adoption of Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6) is vital for addressing the depletion of Internet Protocol version 4 (IPv4) addresses and the growth of the Internet. Despite the criticality of the shortage of IPv4 addresses, organisations around the world have been slow to adopt IPv6. While some researchers have examined organisational IPv6 adoption and assimilation, the literature is dominated by technical studies. In addition, there is little research on the broader issue of the adoption of digital infrastructure, including IPv6. The goal of this study is to better understand the organisational adoption and assimilation of digital infrastructure, by studying the IPv6 adoption experience. This study focused on identifying the determinants and barriers of organisational IPv6 adoption and assimilation, and on providing an in-depth understanding of the impact of organisational resources, institutional forces and network externalities across varying stages of organisational adoption and assimilation. To achieve these research aims, a thorough literature review and multiple case studies were used. Semi-structured in-depth interviews were conducted with 22 informants from sixteen organisations in New Zealand. These organisations were from different industries, of different sizes and were at different stages of IPv6 adoption. The data collected during the interviews was used to develop through visual maps for each case, and to surface themes across cases. The within-case analysis identified twelve determinants and eleven barriers of organisational IPv6 adoption, which were then categorised into institutional, organisational and network-specific factors. The data was then used to develop a multi-level model of digital infrastructure adoption, and a stage model of digital infrastructure adoption and assimilation. This study contributes theoretically to our understanding of digital infrastructure adoption and assimilation by explaining how factors internal and external to organisations influence their adoption decisions. By consolidating the experiences of the sixteen organisations, the study also provides useful suggestions to practitioners on how they should managing their adoption of IPv6 and other types of digital infrastructure. Finally, this study concludes by describing its limitations and by providing suggestions for future research on this crucial topic.