This paper describes the dynamic nature of leadership processes that are initiated and driven by emergent leaders known as ‘champions’. The research involved a multiple case study method to examine typical champion-driven leadership processes in six urban water management agencies.
The analysis indicated that these leadership processes evolved through three distinct phases characterized by different forms of leadership involved many leaders and were strongly affected by context. The research produced a new three-phase conceptual model of champion-driven leadership. This model is used to explain the way in which the transformational distributed and complexity models of leadership are relevant to different dimensions of champion-driven leadership processes as they evolve. The model is also used to explain why some champions are more effective than others.
The paper concludes by describing ways organizations can enable champion-driven leadership processes to overcome complex challenges such as delivering more sustainable water services within modern cities.
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