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Steven E. Markham and Janice Witt Smith

In this chapter, the authors resurrect the functional leadership perspective with respect to the concept of the champion. They examine the rationale for selecting this notion within the context of leading creative innovations, its conceptual meaning and clarity, its typology across 12 sub-types, and the degree to which managers engage in championing. They suggest that, at a minimum, we need to incorporate into the construct at least four sub-functions. They also offer a temporal model of how the championship process unfolds. Finally, they consider the future of research about champions. A solid case can be made for reinvigorating the concept of champions, especially if we acknowledge its popularity in a wide range of practitioner literature. The authors conclude with implications for researchers, publishers, and practitioners.