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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The two faces of championship: an examination of the behavioral and individual-differences characteristics of the champion Woolley, Ross M.


The purpose of the present research was to examine the behavioral and individual-differences characteristics of a key figure in the innovation process—the champion. The champion, also known as corporate entrepreneur (Kanter, 1982), and intrapreneur (Pinchot, 1985) is an individual who emerges informally in an organization to introduce and promote innovation. These individuals have been described as forceful, driven, energetic, and visionary and have been found to be critical players in the success of organizational innovation. The majority of research on the champion has not, however, been conducted with a focus on this key figure. Rather, the emphasis of much of the previous research has typically been on the process of innovation, with the champion acknowledged and discussed, but not featured or described in detail. Given the importance of the champion in promoting innovation, it would be desirable to conduct research in which this figure was the focus of attention. The three studies carried out as part of this research project were designed with this purpose in mind. Methods of individual-differences assessment were applied to the study of the champion. The present research began with a study of the champion’s behavior. Techniques from the act frequency approach (Buss & Craik, 1980) were used to develop a comprehensive behavioral profile of the champion in order to establish a structural model of championship. Acts describing championship were generated by panels of middle- and senior-level managers and these items were factor analyzed separately in two samples, involving over 600 managers from seven Western Canadian organizations. Ultimately, 10 first- and two second-order factors were identified and named by subject matter experts. Evidence was found for a heroic and a dark side to championship at the second order factor level. In Study 2, the focus turned to predictor measurement. Supervisory ratings of championship on the criterion dimensions identified in Study 1 were obtained for 174 middle- and senior-level managers. These same managers had been participants in a three-day Assessment Center in which they were administered: (a) cognitive ability tests, (b) personality inventories, (c) management simulations, and (d) a structured interview. Correlations computed between the Assessment Center measures, on the one hand, and the criterion dimensions on the other, led to the conclusion that the dark side of championship could be predicted, but that, unfortunately, the heroic side could not. On the basis of the Assessment Center scale correlations with the dark side, the champion was found to be: dominant, assertive, exhibitionistic, aggressive, independent, competitive, driven, impulsive, impatient, and likely to break rules and take risks. The results of Study 3 led to the development of a low-fidelity simulation, based on the behavioral consistency model (Wernimont & Campbell, 1968). This simulation, called the Management Practices Simulation (MPS), was administered to the Assessment Center participants involved in Study 2 and scores on the MPS were correlated with scores on the criterion dimensions from Study 1. Two higher-order MPS scales were found to correlate significantly with the two second-order criterion factor scales identified in Study 1. Moreover, the criterion-related validity of these scales surpassed that achieved with any component of the Assessment Center. The results of Studies 1, 2, and 3 indicate that championship is a multi dimensional construct that, at a higher-order level, can be described with reference to two orthogonal dimensions, labeled the dark and heroic side. Individuals can be ordered along a continuum on these dimensions and this scaling reflects meaningful differences in behavior. Psychological tests can be used to predict ratings of championship, at least those associated with the dark side. Finally, application of the behavioral consistency model to the development of a low-fidelity simulation, led to the creation of a new instrument—the Management Practices Simulation—whose scales correlated significantly and at a slightly higher-level with the criterion than any of the Assessment Center battery scales.

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