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Corporate Champions of Early-Stage Project Proposals and the Institutionalisation of Organisational Inertia.

Bertels, Heidi M. J., Mithani, M., Zhu, S., & Koen, P.A. 2020. “Corporate Champions of Early-Stage Project Proposals and the Institutionalisation of Organisational Inertia.” International Journal of Innovation Management, vol. 24, no. 3, p. 30 pages.

Abstract

This study looks at the role of champions in the early stages of the product development process, when employees try to secure initial funding for project proposals. Project proposals that fail to receive funding never become part of the firm’s project pipeline, hence it is critical to understand the champion’s role early on. Existing research on corporate champions is mostly focused on the later stages of the new product development process and has generally identified corporate champions as key to projects likely to face organizational resistance. However, several recent studies suggest that champions may prefer projects less likely to face organizational resistance. Using data from project proposals of executive MBA students across 78 large organizations, we find that champion support for the team is weaker for project proposals likely to evoke resistance and that such lower champion support further reduces the likelihood of high-resistance early-stage proposals to receive initial funding.

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