Characteristics and behaviours of formal versus informal nurse champions and their relationship to innovation success

Shirly Luz, Efrat Shadmi, Hanna Admi, Ilana Peterfreund, Anat Drach-Zahavy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Aims: To identify the sociodemographic attributes, project characteristics and champion strategies that differentiate formal from informal nursing champions, and to test their success in terms of project spread and novelty. Background: Champions spread innovation in healthcare organizations. Empirical research has not explored the differences between formal and informal champions in terms of their antecedents and success. Design: A quantitative cross-sectional design. Method: Data were collected on 93 nursing champions in three hospitals from 2015 - 2016. Champions were identified according to a validated approach; data on their sociodemographic attributes, project characteristics and strategies were assembled through interviews and validated questionnaires. Their success in terms of novelty and spread was assessed via expert ratings and validated questionnaire. Findings: Informal champions had longer tenure and were involved mainly in bottom-up projects aimed mostly at improving human resources and services; formal champions were mostly involved in top-down projects aimed at quality control. Informal champions expressed more enthusiasm and confidence about the innovation; formal champions tended to use more online resources and peer-monitoring strategies. Projects of informal champions were more novel than those of formal champions. Project spread did not differ between the two groups. Conclusion: Formal and informal champions differ in their characteristics and implementation strategies. To encourage project's innovation, the organizational climate should encourage the emergence of informal champions; formal and informal champions should be chosen wisely, assuring that they possess enough organizational resources; and coaching programmes for junior champions should be planned to equip them with championing behaviours.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)85-95
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Advanced Nursing
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was funded by a grant from the Israel National Institute for Health Policy Research 2014/95/A The funding organization had no involvement in the study design, the collection, analysis and interpretation of the data, the writing of the report or in the decision to submit the paper for publication

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 John Wiley & Sons Ltd


  • champions
  • healthcare organizations
  • innovation
  • nursing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Nursing


Dive into the research topics of 'Characteristics and behaviours of formal versus informal nurse champions and their relationship to innovation success'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this