Thanks to George Siemen (and by association, to Stephen Parker) for bringing my attention to the fantastic publication - Networks, Connections and Community: Learning with Social Software.
Not only does it reference theories and models which relate to the use of social software, but it also contains a great example of how to define your research approach.
I've been attempting to gain support for the use of Andrea Shaprio's Tipping Point developer, a simulation tool for enabling those responsible for change to see first hand, the impact of the decisions they make about change management.
Andrea's theory is based on the viral model of the adoption of the new, as discussed in Malcolm Galdwell's book The Tipping Point. The Flexible Learning network also reference this work, but through Gladwells defintions of the characteristics of people who start epidemics.
Whilst working hard to cultivate an online community, I've noted that it really is the case, that if you can find the Connectors, Mavens and Salespeople in your community, and they engage which what you are promoting, chances are the idea will flourish. Ideally, this happens to the extent that it reaches a Tipping Point where less or little effort is required to ensure the idea is adopted.
A lovely theory with a fundamentally individual basis, which fits beautifully with the activities of the blogosphere. What's the betting many of the bloggers out there are either Connectors, Mavens or Salespeople...something it seems other people like Liz Strauss agree with...