A mapping approach to managing project stakeholders
Sten Bonke, Institut for Planlæning, Danmarks Tekniske Universitet
Graham M. Winch, Institut for Planlæning, Danmarks Tekniske Universitet
The management of project stakeholders is a task of growing importance for project managers (e.g., Calvert, 1995). Understanding their interests, and relative power is vital for the effective management of the inception stages of many projects. This paper will build on research, which developed an innovative stakeholder mapping approach to understand the management of Denmark's Storebælt project, which linked Zealand to the European mainland for the first time. The model maps stakeholders in terms of problems, solutions and artefacts, and then locates them on the power/interest matrix.
The approach, which regards technologies as socially constructed, concentrates on mapping the different stakeholders, what their interests are, and the likely compromises that they would accept to allow the project to go forward. Thus, the roles of different national government ministries, politicians, clients, environmental groups, local winners and losers, and other project actors can all be mapped as a way of understanding how different project options are evaluated and a compromise is reached. Failure to achieve compromise typically leads to the cancellation of the project. After introducing the approach, the paper will go on to apply it to three projects—the Toshka project in the south of Egypt; the rebuilding of Beirut by SOLIDERE; and the housing program launched on the island of Montserrat following the devastating volcanic eruption of 1997.
Defining the Project Mission
The identification of a clear mission for the project is widely considered to be essential for the effective management of projects—indeed it can be considered one of the five principal project management processes (Winch, 2000). However, the complexity of client organizations, and the social, economic and regulatory environments in which they operate, coupled with the absence of adequate quantitative project appraisal tools, means that strategic definition of the project mission is inevitably politicized, and many project missions are the outcomes of complex negotiations and tradeoffs. The case studies by Hall (1980) show how decision-making around public sector projects is a complex tradeoff between political, social, and economic interests, while Law and Callon (1992) pun the description of the TSR2 as a “variable geometry” aircraft due to the way in which it meant different things to different stakeholders. More recently, such a tradeoff has become even more difficult with the emergence of principled opposition on environmental grounds and the consequent placing of the legitimacy of existing fora for handling such decisions in question. In such cases the tradeoff process itself can be a major project management exercise in its own right, as the planning enquiry into Heathrow's Terminal 5 shows.
These problems are, perhaps, most severe in the realm of the provision of public assets, for no clear economic criteria for the supply and distribution of such assets exist (Hall, 1980, p. 189). Some projects, such as Mitterand's grands projets appear to be entirely politically driven (Chaslin, 1985). A recent development has been to privatize such projects through the development of concession contracting, which in turn has led to the rapid recent increase in the project finance market. The effect of this is that financiers become direct stakeholders in the management of the project, and the allocation of risks associated with the project a matter for complex negotiation (Beidleman et al., 1990).
Purely private sector projects face similar problems. The context of the Eagle project was politicized within Data General as the company moved its research and development functions from Boston to North Carolina (Kidder, 1982). Kodak's Factory of the Future project was abandoned as a coherent vision that met the interests of all the stakeholders could not be articulated (Bowen et al., 1994, chap. 12). The London Stock Exchange's Taurus project threatened the very existence of the registrars who keep records of share deals by proposing a central register. A compromise reached in 1989 provided for a decentralized system, but at the cost of a much higher level of complexity. Coupled with regulatory demands for high levels of security, and opposition from small stockbrokers who feared the system would reinforce the dominance of the large banks, this led its abandonment (Drummond, 1996). As the former chief executive of the Stock Exchange stated, “Taurus meant an awful lot of different things to different people, it was the absolute lack of clarity as to its definition at the front that I think was its Achilles’ heel” (Financial Times 3/7/95).
The aim of this paper is to present a methodology aimed at enabling the better understanding, and hence management, of the definition of the project mission that explicitly addresses the inherently politicized nature of decision-making at this stage of the project life cycle. It therefore, offers a complement to the better know capital budgeting and cost-benefit analysis techniques that are frequently deployed to aid project definition. In essence, it addresses the generation of alternative definitions of the project mission, rather than the formal evaluation of the merits of alternatives.
An Approach to Stakeholder Mapping
The conceptual framework of stakeholder mapping demonstrated in this paper is inspired by theories of social constructivism, typically known as SCOT (Social Construction of Technology), developed and applied by Bijker and Pinch (1987) among others in a considerable number of technology analyses. In relation to large construction projects the mapping method was tentatively applied in an attempt to comprehend the peculiarities of technology solutions on the Storebælt fixed link project in Denmark (Bonke, 1996).
Theories regarding technology as being socially constructed basically see technological development as arising from negotiations between different social actors, organized in “relevant social groups,” each having their own comprehension of the problems to be solved and of the solutions available. Contrary to the linear projection of conventional technology models, this approach is multidimensional, making it possible to consider the development of a technological project as an alternation between variation and selection. Thus, as experienced in practice by most project managers, the unruly process of fixing and maintaining definite and consistent project objectives is at the very core of social constructivism. Rational technical arguments do not by themselves carry weight in the project definition process—only in the hands of a relevant, dedicated and powerful stakeholder does rationality achieve the meaning of “universal importance” which governs the project through its life cycle.
SCOT theory's main conceptual relations are covered by the terms artfefact, relevant social group and technological frame. The “artefact” is the technological object, be it material or immaterial, toward which the actors in a SCOT analysis are orientated. In this context, the artefact equals the project mission.Correspondingly the “relevant social group” represents a project stakeholder. Finally,“technological frame” defines the scope of a social group's actions and articulates the preferred technological solutions in terms of problems and preferred solutions.
Obviously, identifying the complete set of stakeholders is of great importance to the validity and usefulness of the mapping method. During this process all stakeholders must be identified, not on the basis on a priori distinctions between, for instance, technicians and economists, professionals and lay people, but rather from the perspective that any actor who possesses an interest in the project and the solutions to its problems should be considered a relevant stakeholder.
The technological frame of a stakeholder originates in the predominant practices, theories, tactics, political and economic goals and means, which characterize and are shared by specific stakeholders. It is then crucial for the manager of a project to realize that each stakeholder will be interpreting the project differently—that the artefact is constituted by as many meanings as there are relevant social groups. And this interpretative flexibility can be revealed by tracing the different meanings attributed to the project by the different stakeholders.
Normally, the interpretative flexibility of a project is easily demonstrated by its deconstruction into “several alternative projects,” each of which can be associated with the specific stakeholders. For instance, the construction of a fixed link across a sound simultaneously represents turnover and profit for contractors, and increased pollution for environmentalist groups. This flexibility exists until consensus concerning the meaning of a project between different stakeholders occurs. The pluralism of the project then disappears into a closure as the project mission is defined (Haugbølle Hansen, 1993).
Whether and when closure takes place will depend, in part, upon the degree of stability within each stakeholder's comprehension of the project. For instance, if stability is low and confronted by powerful actors, the closure may be of a purely rhetorical nature. Closure may also be achieved through a redefinition of the problems and solutions linked to the project, for instance, through favoring public transport on a fixed link project (see Bonke, 1998). As demonstrated in technology studies, closure mechanisms will often occur through technological and organizational innovations, under constraint, through negotiations based on convincing or well-founded argumentation, or via loss of interest by one of the stakeholders (e.g., Misa, 1992).
Closure and stability consequently should be regarded as two aspects of the same question. The concept of closure focuses on the different meanings, which relevant stakeholders associate with the project. Stability focuses on the development of a specific stakeholder's comprehension of the project. As indicated above, the implication of closure is that interpretative flexibility disappears—that one comprehension becomes dominant while others vanish. In the dynamic project perspective the dominant comprehension then gradually pervades other stakeholders’ interpretation of the project, thereby letting the project definition process progress. While in principle, it is possible to reopen negotiations about the meaning of a project at any stage in practice closure is an almost irreversible process.
Analyzing the Stakeholder Map
Once the stakeholder map is prepared, it can be analyzed using a power/interest matrix (Johnson & Scholes, 1999, chap. 5). There are two dimensions to the matrix—the level of interest of the stakeholder in the project, and the stakeholder's power to influence the definition of the project mission. These yield four basic categorizations of stakeholder shown in Exhibit 1. Those in category A require minimal effort, but should still be watched in case their power or interest rises as circumstances change. Those in category B need to be kept informed of progress, and, because many of those who hold alternative definitions of the project mission may be in this category, be treated with diplomacy. Again, signs that stakeholders here may gain power need to be watched for. Those in category C need to be kept satisfied. Often in this group will be second-tier financiers who treat the project simply as another investment opportunity—their power over the project is considerable, but their interest may be fairly low as they would simply remove their finance if not satisfied. Into this category also go those hired by the client to execute the project. While such stakeholders—particularly designers and financial advisors—may have considerable influence over the project mission, they are likely to be treating the project as one of many on which they are involved. They are also often insured against major project failures, or—more frequently in the case of contractors—will be using portfolio techniques to spread risks associated with the project. The final group are the key players—those committed totally to the project such as the client; the first tier financiers and those on the supply side who are betting their company on the project for one reason or another.
Source: Johnson & Scholes (1999) fig 5.5
The degree of integration of the stakeholder map will make a large difference to its manageability. If the stakeholders are at the far corners of Exhibit 1, then the definition process is likely to be turbulent, and the process map unstable. If the stakeholders are clustered near the center of Exhibit 1, then the map will appear as relatively stable. The dispersion of the different stakeholders in the power/interest matrix will indicate the options of maneuverability in the project manager's decision and planning processes, and the ability to broker compromise by renegotiating the project mission.
The Case Studies
Our argument now turns to illustrating the use of the stakeholder mapping methodology through three case illustrations. Two are major development projects with profound importance for the future of the two countries concerned. They are taken from the work of Hobballah (1998) and El-Missiri (1999) respectively. The third is much smaller in scale, but one in which the stakes are no less high for that country. It is taken from the work of Weekes (1999). These research reports were updated using ft.com. Exhibit 2 provides the code to the stakeholder maps. The internal stakeholders are those who are members of the project coalition or providing finance; the external ones are those others affected by the project in a significant way (Calvert, 1995).
Solidere: Redeveloping Beirut Central District
By 1991, over 15 years of civil war had left the central district of Beirut in ruins. Formerly the most cosmopolitan commercial and cultural district in the Middle East, Beirut Central District (BCD) was to be redeveloped with the aim of regaining its former role in the regional economic and social life. The master plan was developed by the Egyptian firm of consulting engineers, Dar Al-Handasah with a scope including:
• Responsibility for a total area of 1.8m m2 of prime real estate
• Reclamation of 608k m2 of unofficial landfill on the coast—the Reclaimed Land
• Provision of a modern urban infrastructure of roads, parks and telecommunications
• Restoration of those existing buildings that were not beyond saving which were of historical value—the Retained Buildings
• Extension of the corniche, and the provision of two marinas
• Reconstruction and expansion of the traditional souks. There were two main problems that influenced the choice of organization for the project. First, the financial and managerial resources of the Lebanese state at the end of the war were completely inadequate to the challenges of delivering this master plan. Second, Lebanese property rights meant that the former tenants of the ruined buildings had the right to take up their tenancies again at the pre-war levels of rent. A further, but less intractable, problem was that many of the surviving buildings were squatted by those dislocated by the war, and to whom the state had a moral obligation. For these reasons, a private company was incorporated in 1994—the Société Libanaise pour le Développement et la Reconstruction du Centre Ville de Beyrouth (SOLIDERE) as concessionaire for the redevelopment works. Essentially, a form of public/private partnership, SOLIDERE had the right to:
• Expropriate land and buildings in return for A-class shares in its equity
• Raise equity capital through the sale of B-class shares to Lebanese nationals and firms, and some other categories of Middle Eastern investor—the Eligible Persons
• Raise loan capital on the international markets
• Make profits on the sale and rental of its assets
• Be exempt from taxes on its profits for 10 years, while its shareholders are exempt from taxes on their dividends and capital gains for the same period.
The scale of the project is indicated by the fact that the final capitalization of SOLIDERE is equivalent to roughly one third of the total GDP of Lebanon. It is broken down into three main phases:
1. 1994-9—Stabilization of the landfill, completion of infrastructure works in the traditional central district and restoration of the Retained Buildings
2. 2000-9—Infrastructure works on the Reclaimed Land and further development of traditional central district
3. 2010-19—Development of the Reclaimed Land.
The first phase of the project is over both program and budget, but within the bounds of available finance. The main program slippages are due to the extent of the archaeological program, and problems with the stabilization of the landfill, while the principal sources of budget variances are the squatter relocation program and the restoration of the Retained Buildings.
The stakeholder map for the project is shown in Exhibit 3. The principal internal stakeholders are:
• Class A shareholders, who are angry at the expropriation of their property and its alleged undervaluation by the Appraisal Committee
• Class B shareholders whose principal aim is a return on their capital
• The project sponsor—the Lebanese government. Allied to this group are the former President Hariri, who is himself the largest B-class shareholder and an owner of construction firms, and pro-government political groups. The concern of this stakeholder is the revival of Beirut as an international commercial center and the economic benefits that entail. Hariri played a crucial champion role in the incorporation of SOLIDERE.
The principal external stakeholders are:
• The international community, in the shape of many Western leaders and the U.N. who are openly backing the project as a major contribution to political stability in the region
• International Merchant Banks providing loan capital
• The Lebanese Order of Engineers, voicing concerns over the lack of accountability of SOLIDERE
• Local banks, which are financing individual property developments
• The national and international archaeological community, concerned to capture the heritage of the area
• Residents and environmentalists, particularly concerned with the land reclamation aspects of the project, and the lack of mass transport in the scheme
• Property developers
• The political opposition consisting of various left-wing, religious, and nationalist parties voicing concerns about the use of a public-private partnership, tax holidays, and the upmarket character of the developments
• Trade unions, concerned about the use of cheap foreign workers in the construction.
Exhibit 4 shows the power/interest matrix for the BCD project. It shows how the key players are the class B shareholders, the Lebanese government itself, and the property developers who will carry out the individual developments once the infrastructure is provided. President Hariri lost a vote of confidence in December 1998 (Agence France Press 2/12/98), and since then there have been worries about government support for SOLIDERE (Financial Times 26/6/99). The class B shareholders and property developers dissatisfaction with the progress of the project recently led to the share-price of SOLIDERE dropping to a nadir by September 1999 (Middle East Times 29/9/99) on low profits due to an economic slowdown and continuing tension with Israel. International property developers such as Prince Alwaleed have engaged in protracted negotiations before agreeing to invest (Middle East Economic Digest 26/11/99).
The international banks are happy so long as their loans are secure. A number of groups have a high interest, but the political balance of power nullifies the ability of the trade unions, the political opposition, and the LOE to lobby for stronger government control over SOLIDERE, and the class A shareholders to obtain relief for their grievances. The new government of Salim el-Hoss has so far not attempted to alter the structure of SOLIDERE. The archaeological community has received concessions, but little has been offered to environmentalists and residents. However, the failure by SOLIDERE to protect some of the retained buildings is presently the subject of litigation. While the international community wishes the project well, supported by high-profile visits from the likes of Jacques Chirac and Kofi Annan, they have relatively little interest in the project as such. The local banks would in any case find investments for their funds without the intervention of SOLIDERE.
Toshka: Greening Al-Sae’ed
The River Nile is fundamental to the economy of Egypt and its lower valley is one of the most intensively farmed regions of the world. Yet only 5.5% of Egypt's total area is inhabited—most is desert—and some 40% of the population is crammed into the two principal cities of Cairo and Alexandria. For centuries, the people of Egypt have lived by the rhythm of the river. Attempts by the Egyptians to manage the river more proactively began with the completion of the Aswan Dam in 1901, and the Aswan High Dam in 1971; the latter also providing 2.1m kW of hydroelectric power generation capacity. The massive lake behind Aswan High Dam is known as Lake Nasser in Egypt and Lake Nubia in the Sudan. In 1978, a 22km overflow canal—the Makhar Toshka—was completed, and used for the first time in the floods of 1996 by dumping millions of liters of water into the Monkhafad Toshka, a depression in the Western Desert to the north west of Lake Nasser.
In the sixties and seventies, feasibility studies showed that the Monkhafad Toshka area was suitable for reclamation for agricultural use, and proposals were developed for the provision of the irrigation that would be required in one of the most inhospitable environments in Africa. However Egypt was unable to obtain finance for such a project without the security of peace with Israel, which was secured in 1979. The main features of the Toshka irrigation project to deliver 5.5bn m3 of irrigation water each year to 226 700 hectares are:
• A 70km main canal—the Sheikh Zayed Canal
• A massive pumping station located 8km north of the Makhar Toshka—the Mubarak Pumping Station—to pump water from Lake Nasser into the main canal
• Four branch canals totaling 199km
• Road infrastructure.
Construction work started at the beginning of 1997, with completion due at the end of 2001—the total budget is in the region of £770m, and the project is broadly on program (Middle East Observer 12/1/00). It is financed by the Egyptian government through internal resources and Arab development funds. Once the irrigation and infrastructure systems are completed, private Egyptian and foreign Arab investors have been offered a variety of incentives to make the agricultural investments ranging from tax breaks to subsidized power. The World Bank is providing a further $200m for land reclamation. Irrigation water will be provided to the farms free of charge. The project is strongly championed by President Mubarak. The irrigation project is the cornerstone of the £53.1bn South Valley Development Project, which is expected to lead to 3m people transferring to the region by 2017. It is one of five current megaprojects aimed at developing Egypt.
As shown in Exhibit 5, the principal internal stakeholders are:
• The Government of Egypt, which sees the project as the solution to Egypt's problems of population growth and overcrowding in the Nile Valley. These include high levels of unemployment, massive imports of major foodstuffs, and the rise of fundamentalist politics amongst the urban lumpenproletariat.
• The agricultural investors. Principal amongst these is Prince Alwaleed, the nephew of King Faud of Saudi Arabia and the world's richest businessmen. Other major investors include the governments of the United Arab Emirates and Qatar—the main canal is named after the head of state of the former—and two private groups of Egyptian businessmen.
The principal external stakeholders are:
• The principal Nile riparian states. The share of the waters of the Nile between the riparian states is governed by the treaties of 1929 and 1959. However, these are, in essence, agreements between Egypt and the Sudan, and have never been recognized by Ethiopia. Yet, Ethiopia accounts for 85% of all water flowing into the Nile down the Blue Nile. One attempt to counter this problem is the construction of the 360 km Jongeli Canal through the Sudd swamps in southern Sudan where 90% of the volume of the White Nile is lost to evaporation, which started in 1976. However, the civil war in the Sudan led to its abandonment in 1984 after 267km had been completed.
• The other riparian states—Burundi, Tanzania, Uganda, and Eritrea—have their own plans for hydroelectric developments, but these are presently disrupted by wars and other problems.
• Egyptian political opposition groups, principally the New Wafd Party, argue that the resources invested could have been put to much better use elsewhere in the country. However, the ruling National Democratic Party of Mubarak holds 95% of the seats in the legislature.
• The Nile River Pilots fear that the loss of 10% of the flow due to its diversion for irrigation will lead to navigation problems. These could be reduced by dredging.
• The fellahin—farmers of the lower Nile valley—fear that their own agriculture will be damaged, and that they will be charged for water.
• International Agencies, particularly Japanese and Arab development funds, and the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation are supporting the development, providing both aid and advice.
• The environmentalist's principal fear that the removal of the desert barrier will create a route for parasite and diseases from tropical Africa to move north to the Mediterranean coast. They have some support in the Egyptian Environment Ministry. These problems could be met by introducing a quarantine regime to control the movement of organic products, but this runs counter to the assurances given to the agricultural investors regarding their freedom to exploit the new farmland.
Exhibit 6 shows the power/interest matrix for the Toshka project. The key players are the Egyptian government and the principal agricultural investors, although Qatar's power is lower than the others due to its history of poor diplomatic relations with Egypt. Government support for the project remains strong. The political dominance of the governing party neutralizes the power of the opponents of the project within Egypt. Environmentalists have to date voiced little concern regarding the project, while the archaeological dimension is unknown and has not been raised to date. The political tension between Egypt, the Sudan, and Ethiopia remains acute. While Egypt is militarily dominant, Sudan finances fundamentalist terrorists within Egypt, while Ethiopia finances the black Christian rebels in the Sudanese civil war. A significant change in the political situation could place either Sudan or Ethiopia in the high power category, and/or frighten off investors. International aid agencies are central to the finance of the project, and need to be kept satisfied regarding mission of the project. The other riparian states presently show little interest, but there are worries that Eritrea might become more proactive once its political situation stabilizes.
Montserrat: Rehousing the People
In June 1997, the start of a sequence of major volcanic eruptions left two thirds of the British dependent territory of Montserrat uninhabitable—including the capital, airport and docks (Patullo, 2000). Although the eruption had been predicted, and there was little loss of life, the lack of contingency planning left most of the population homeless. Many went abroad; the rest lived in tents and public buildings in the north of the island. The Immediate Housing Development Programme (IHDP) was launched in July 1997 with the appointment of Brown and Root as construction managers to house 1,000 people as soon as possible. As of August 1999, the IHDP was well behind time and over budget, and as late as March 2000, there were still a few people living in temporary accommodation (The Birmingham Post 15/3/00).
The IHPD was organized into three phases:
• Davy Hill—50 prefabricated houses provided by International Building Systems (IBS) of the U.S.;
• Lookout Phase 1—50 blockhouses designed by a local architect, and built by local contractors;
• Lookout Phase 2—50 blockhouses and 100 Force-10 prefabricated houses sourced from Australia.
The IBS houses proved to be completely unsuitable for the Montserrat environment because the sealants melted in the heat and the houses therefore leaked when it rained. The use of local contractors for the first phase of blockhouses caused many problems due to their lack of skills in managing the building process, especially when all materials had to be imported. The decision by Brown and Root to strip all topsoil instead of using strip foundations led to extensive erosion of the steeply sloping site during heavy rains. The Force-10 houses were poorly adapted to the sloping site, leaving only one door usable, and major worries about uplift during the inevitable hurricanes. More generally, the houses were well below the standards expected by the population, and tended to be one-bedroom when the overwhelming requirement was for two-bedroom properties. None conformed to local building regulations. Waste was discharged from the sites into the sea within the tidal area at one of the only two beaches with potential for tourist development.
The stakeholders on the IHPD project, mapped in Exhibit 7, are:
• The Department for International Development (DfID), the responsible U.K. ministry, which financed the project to fulfill its responsibilities to the U.K. dependent territory
• Brown and Root, appointed as construction managers in July 1997 on a New Engineering Contract type 5 for an initial budget of £6.5m
• The Government of Montserrat (GoM), with the overriding need to rebuild the country
• The users, i.e., the homeless population, very dissatisfied with the quality of the houses provided and delays in provision
• Environmentalists concerned about the inappropriate construction techniques and treatment of waste.
The power/interest matrix for the project is illustrated in Exhibit 8. The research revealed considerable confusion amongst representatives of the project coalition as to who the client for the project was—DfID or GoM. Different interpretations of the role of Brown and Root were also reported, particularly whether they bore any of the risks associated with the project. This matter is presently the subject of litigation. However, analysis shows that the key player is DfID—GoM were simply informed that Brown and Root had been appointed. Brown and Root has high power but low interst—this is simply another construction project for them. The other stakeholders fall into the high interest/low power category. Even the GoM has little say in what goes on. Their pressure to localize construction led the second phase to be awarded to local construction firms, but this proved to cause serious problems of progress, and even the design by the local architect was criticized. In the third phase, the local industry reverted to its role as a source of labor only. The long-suffering people of Monsterrat—the users—are those with the highest interest, but least power.
These are three very different projects, but the stakeholder analysis approach that we have developed yields insights into the dynamics of each project. Two of the projects might be called TINA projects (“there is no alternative” in Mrs. Thatcher's famous words)—BCD and IHDP. There is, therefore, no opposition to the project mission as such, but to the details of its implementation. In these cases it is clear that those who have lost most—the residents of the areas devastated by the horsemen of the apocalypse—have least say in the development and implementation of the project mission. Those who provide the redevelopment capital—be they the public or private sectors—are the key players.
The Toshka project is different in that it is the result of a clear political choice, and there is opposition to the very idea of the project—on an opportunity cost basis within the country, and a geo-political basis from other riparian states. To date, the strength internally and externally of the Egyptian government has allowed the project to proceed smoothly, but there can be no guarantee that it will not meet the same fate as the Jongeli Canal in the future. What none of these projects have faced is the problem of local loser opposition. This can either consist of those who will directly lose out as a result of the project, such as the towns of Halsskov and Dover with the Storebælt and Channel fixed links (Bonke, 1998;Winch, 1996), or NIMBY (“not in my back yard”) opposition where the mission is not contested in principle, but its local effects are opposed. Strong environmentalist attention has not been attracted to any of these projects. This is probably due to the TINA nature of two of them, but this is more surprising in the case of Toshka. This may well be a function of the lack of local losers. As so often, at least in Europe, failure to effectively manage the archaeological aspects of the project have led to delays in rebuilding BCD.
Both local loser and environmentalist opponents of projects have demonstrated the organizational capacity on a number of projects to shift themselves from the low power to high power categories, and have enforced the renegotiation of the mission of many projects. Their roles as stakeholders are increasingly institutionalized through the regulatory system in the shape of land use policies and procedures, and environmental impact assessments.
The supply side of the project coalition—designers and contractors—has only been included in the stakeholder mapping for Montserrat. This is because, on our evidence, they only played an independent role in defining the project mission on that project, where Brown and Root were responsible for selecting the prefabricated housing types. On our evidence, they played no such role for Toshka and BCD. However, it seems unlikely that the presence of Hitachi in the consortium for the Mubarak Pumping Station is independent of Japanese aid funding; in other words, stakeholder analysis must take into account the possibility of alliances and dependencies between internal and external stakeholders.
Although the stakeholder mapping approach presented here has been developed in the context of major building and civil engineering projects, its application is much wider. Compromising the interests of powerful stakeholders is essential for the effective definition of any project mission, and this tool has a role to play in achieving that definition. The recent experience in the U.K. of major IT projects in the private and public sectors shows that the failure to manage stakeholders leads to unclear definition of the project mission, abandonment of the project and large waste of resources. The stakeholder mapping approach presented here provides the basis for an effective stakeholder management strategy, as it identifies what sort of communications strategies different stakeholders might accept, and the sorts of compromises that would have to be made to ensure their commitment to the project.
Our analysis has been unable to do full justice to the richness of the maps due to length considerations. For the further development of this stakeholder mapping methodology, we would suggest that research should focus on the following areas:
• Further research is required into methods for manipulating the power/interest matrix in favor of any particular stakeholder—Johnson and Scholes (1999, chap. 5) provide some indications of ways of doing this. This will typically be done by the project manager acting for one of the key players, but the mapping technique is equally open to use by opponents of the project.
• A stakeholder approach implies that the criteria for project success are themselves contestable. What is success for one stakeholder may be failure for another. For instance, the banks and the contractors (Transmanche-Link) had very different views of price on the Channel fixed link (Winch, 1996), stemming from their different business cultures. Banks bid high and trim their margins; contractors bid low and recoup their costs. The 69% budget overrun on the project shows that the contractors view of price prevailed in the longer term—the project was a success from their point of view, but not from that of the banks. Better understanding of these dynamics is required.
• Greater understanding is required of the shifting nature of the stakeholder map through time. This is particularly important if projects are phased, and stakeholders learn from their experiences in the earlier phases. Changes in stakeholders—such as takeovers of client firms or changes in government can also lead to changes in the project mission, or even outright cancellation. One of the most important tasks of the project manager is to sink enough assets so that any shift in the power/interest matrix does not lead to project cancellation due to sheer momentum—“getting the concrete on the table” in the words of the project manager of the Storebælt project (Bonke, 1998). SOLIDERE appears to have achieved this, with the new prime minister shifting toward a more conciliatory approach with the realization that changing its mission would be too disruptive at this stage. On Montserrat, stakeholder dissatisfaction with the outcome of each stage, led to redefinition of the artefact within the overall mission.
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Proceedings of PMI Research Conference 2000