Champions of Product Innovations: Defining, Developing

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Journal of Business Venturing 20 (2005) 641 – 661

Champions of product innovations: defining, developing,
and validating a measure of champion behaviorB
Jane M. Howella,*, Christine M. Sheab,1, Christopher A. Higginsa,2 a

Richard Ivey School of Business, The University of Western Ontario, London, ON, Canada N6A 3K7 b
The Whittemore School of Business and Economics, University of New Hampshire, Durham, NH 03824-3593, United States
Received 30 July 2002; received in revised form 30 June 2004; accepted 30 June 2004

Abstract
This research defined, developed, and validated a measure of champion behavior by collecting data from different samples in multiple stages. Using the act frequency method, a comprehensive set of 102 items reflective of champion behavior was developed based on a survey of middle managers and executives. Next, a different managerial sample rated the extent to which each of the 102 items was representative of champion behavior, and 29 were deemed to represent the core of the domain of championship. Finally, to evaluate the psychometric properties of the champion behavior measure, 47 product innovations in 13 firms were studied. Forty-seven nominated champions completed personality measures, 47 top division managers rated project performance, and 216 innovation team members rated champion behavior and leadership style. Results from principal components and confirmatory factor analyses yielded a 14-item champion behavior measure composed of three factors: expressing enthusiasm and confidence about the success of the innovation, persisting under adversity, and getting the right people involved. This measure showed acceptable reliability as well as convergent

B

This research investigation was generously supported by a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Grant (# 410-98-0373) awarded to the first author. * Corresponding author. Tel.: +1 519 661 3263; fax: +1 519 661 3495. E-mail addresses: jhowell@ivey.uwo.ca (J.M. Howell)8 cmshea@cisunix.unh.edu (C.M. Shea)8 chiggins@ivey.uwo.ca (C.A. Higgins).

1
Tel.: +1 603 862 3322; fax: +1 603 862 3383.
2
Tel.: +1 519 661 3269; fax: +1 519 661 3959.
0883-9026/$ - see front matter D 2004 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. doi:10.1016/j.jbusvent.2004.06.001

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J.M. Howell et al. / Journal of Business Venturing 20 (2005) 641–661

and discriminant validity. Preliminary evidence of criterion-related validity indicated that the champion behavior measure was also positively related to project performance. Together these analyses provided support for the construct validity of the champion behavior measure. D 2004 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Keyword: Champion behavior measure

1. Executive summary
The successful introduction and acceleration of new product development is an important source of competitive advantage, survival, and renewal for many organizations. Studies of product innovation success highlight that champions, individuals who informally emerge to actively and enthusiastically promote innovations through the crucial organizational stages, are necessary to overcome the social and political pressures imposed by an organization and convert them to its advantage. While studies emphasize the importance of champions for keeping innovations alive and thriving, empirical investigations have conceived of champions as either present or absent in the innovation process. To date, the behaviors of champions, and the extent to which these behaviors must be enacted to contribute to successful project performance, have not been specified. This study adds to the innovation and champion literatures by defining, developing, and validating a measure of champion behavior that identifies and quantifies what champions actually do to promote innovations successfully in organizations.

The development of the champion behavior measure involved collection of data from different samples in multiple stages. First, using the act...
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