The Late Majority is the stabilizing force, the repository of institutional knowledge that slowly absorbs and productionizes the ideas proven to best serve the organization. They aren’t as eager for change as the Early Majority, but they’re happy to adopt proven practices.
The Laggards provide challenge the Instigators most directly, questioning or outright denying the value of a new idea, and provide the most vocal and active resistance. However, their direct criticism may inspire the Instigators to find unexpected common ground and more effective solutions than they otherwise might.
Yes, I think laggards really are common. The grey area between laggards and late majority may be pretty large. Many are swayed by the critical mass of opinion. At first they seem like laggards because they side with them, as the momentum grows they side with late majority...
True active laggards fighting well after the critical mass makes it obvious the culture expects the "new" behavior" isn't a huge group I don't believe. But getting the point where the those siding with laggards switch to siding with late majority is a very challenging point to reach for most significant changes.
How you help change the culture of an organization requires understanding the inertia against change in most organizations and the strategies that are useful in creating the critical mass to accept new ideas and cultural attributes as the new normal.
Related: Why Do People Fail to Adopt Better Management Methods? - Podcast: Building Organizational Capability - Culture Change Requires That Leaders Change Their Behavior - Transforming a Management System – A Case Study From the Madison Wisconsin Police Department - Change Management: Create a Culture Seeking Continual Improvement or Use Band-Aids? - Communicating Change - Building Adoption of Management Improvement Ideas in Your Organization - Grow Your Circle of Influence