Communications of the Association for Information Systems


Researchers have studied champions in diverse settings and kinds of initiatives; a significant body of work on champions has also steadily grown in the information systems discipline. However, we still lack clarity about the distinctiveness of IS champions. Given the poor track record of IS project success and champions’ importance to that success, we argue that this lack of conceptual clarity about the uniqueness of IS champions constitutes a significant and urgent gap. In part, this gap exists because researchers have inadequately consolidated knowledge about IS champions thus far. In response, we systematically reviewed the literature and approached this gap from two viewpoints: 1) a research process perspective whereby we investigated the approaches and practices that IS champion research has followed and 2) a thematic perspective whereby we examined how knowledge about IS champions has accumulated to date. Our findings culminate in three contributions: we 1) propose eight IS champion distinctive features using a classification scheme, 2) redefine IS champions in a way that better reflects the distinctiveness of the champion role in IS innovation, and 3) combine findings from process and thematic perspectives in an agenda to advance IS champion research.