Organisational champions of IT innovation

Michael S H Heng, Eileen M. Trauth, Sven J. Fischer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


This paper reports on an investigation of the characteristics of 10 organisational champions of information technology (IT) innovation in The Netherlands. The institutions at which they work are in the financial, transport, government and software sectors. Much of the research in this area has focused considerable attention on the individual personality traits of champions. This research project was positioned to contribute to the literature by broadening the focus of attention beyond individual-level characteristics. Since IT innovations occur within an organisational context, there is also a need to explore the role of organisation-level characteristics. This study explored both the individual- and the organisation-level characteristics exhibited by those promoting IT innovations in their firms. The results of this study show that these organisational champions fall somewhere in between the classic IT champion and the project manager. While personal leadership characteristics are not as much in evidence, organisational characteristics are emphasised more. They use their political skills to obtain resources and organisational acceptance of the IT innovations as they are shepherding the innovation through the organisational bureaucracy. However, these champions seem to place as much emphasis on creativity as classic IT champions. When necessary, they break rules, give veiled threats and find ways to get around the organisational bureaucracy. They seek creative outlets for themselves and those they manage. These findings suggests that a promising way to reduce the rate of information system (IS) project failures is to learn not only from IS projects undertaken by IT champions but also from innovation undertaken by other champions - business champions and champions of other technologies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)193-222
Number of pages30
JournalAccounting, Management and Information Technologies
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1999

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Management Information Systems
  • Information Systems
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management
  • Library and Information Sciences
  • Management of Technology and Innovation


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