A personal network approach to the study of nurse champions of innovation and their innovation projects’ spread

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Aims: To develop and test the relationship between nurse champions’ personal social networks and innovation success in terms of spread. Design: A cross sectional. Method(s): Data were collected on 94 nurse champions at three medium-large tertiary medical centres from 2015–2016. Data from champions on their personal network were assessed via a standardized and acceptable three-step network survey. Success in terms of innovation spread was assessed via perceived extent of spread. Network structural and relational characteristics were depicted by level of spread. Multivariate linear regression was used to assess the relationship between network characteristics and innovation spread. Findings: Above and beyond various project and network control variables, network density was significantly and positively related to project spread, tie-strength diversity was significantly and negatively related to project spread and difference in ethnic origin between champions and alters was significantly and positively related to project spread. Maximum age of network members was marginally significantly related to project spread. Conclusion(s): Our findings show that high-density personal social networks; networks where tie strength among network members is similar, thus, creating liking and trust among members; having at least one older network member who might have close access to professional and organizational resources acquired throughout their career; and having ties with network members from different ethnic groups to prevent knowledge stickiness, all promote innovation spread. Champions should be carefully nominated based on their ability to engage network members and to build ties with various network members inside and outside the nursing unit; once selected, champions should be aware of their social networks. Impact: The current study explored champions’ personal-network structure, composition and variance measures and their implications for innovation project spread. The findings demonstrated that nursing champions’ personal social networks matter for innovation spread. This finding has implications for the nominating and the coaching of champions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)775-786
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Advanced Nursing
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 John Wiley & Sons Ltd


  • champions
  • health care
  • hospital
  • innovation
  • nursing
  • personal network analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nursing (all)


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