Stakeholders in Engineering and Construction Projects

Stakeholders in Engineering and Construction Projects

Copyright: © 2019 |Pages: 23
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-5864-4.ch008
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This chapter describes what stakeholders are, how to classify them, how they can affect and be affected by the projects, and then describes how to establish a dialogue with them to achieve success in project implementation. Throughout this chapter a series of specific observations are made for complex projects with the purpose of contextualizing the subject of the chapter for this type of project. What is the relevance of stakeholders for complex projects?
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What is the relevance of stakeholders for complex projects? In the third chapter of this book we highlight three characteristics of a complex project:

  • Multiple stakeholders

  • Ambiguities

  • Multinationality

In that chapter we mentioned that different stakeholders may have different expectations, which can compete with each other and create conflicts within the project. We also emphasize that ambiguities and multinationalities have, by themselves, strong relationships with stakeholders regardless of the project being complex or not.

In the case of ambiguities, different stakeholders may have ambiguous positions regarding a project, which add to the ambiguities of other natures that this project also has.

Taking back an example previously used, many mining projects or hydroelectric power plant projects are characterized by having ambiguous repositions stakeholders. These projects have stakeholders directly related to the enterprise and also indirectly linked. In this second group we highlight:

  • Public administration

  • Regulatory agencies

  • Non-governmental organizations (NGOs)

  • Local merchants

  • Local workers

  • Residents of the community

Some of the ambiguities that may be associated with them are:

  • Will public administration and regulatory agencies provide the necessary (environmental and other) licenses for the project to be deployed and operated?

  • What is the position of the residents in relation to the project? Local merchants and workers can see some benefit in the implementation of the project, but what about the others?

  • Can the conditions imposed by the public administration and regulatory agencies, based on the demands of the community, for the issuance of licenses be able to derail the project or to reduce its profitability significantly?

  • Can events occur during the implementation of the project that stresses the relationship between the proprietary organization and the community?

Regarding multinationality, which should be understood as the characteristic of projects whose activities are dispersed in different parts of the globe, we believe that it can make the question of stakeholders more complex, since it adds the ingredient of potentially significant cultural differences between them. These cultural differences can bring new ambiguities to the project.

So, projects (or organizations) must incorporate in their strategies the interests and aspirations of all the stakeholders that directly or indirectly relate to them. Thus, it is necessary to map, identify, analyze and classify these stakeholders, so that they can be included in the organizations, global strategy and can be managed as business and project components.

Cleland and Ireland (as cited in Costa, Campos Filho and Lukosevicius, 2007) relate some factors that evidence the success of a project, such as: the project objectives were met within the deadline and budget, team members consider participation in the project a valuable experience, the result of the project generated profit or some competitive advantage for the organization.

However, the same authors raise a question regarding the relationship between stakeholders and the success of a project. According to them the success or failure of a project can be perceived differently by stakeholders. This exposes the evaluation of the performance of the project to the subjectivity of the gaze of those who evaluate it.

Regardless of how these positions can be reconciled, the fact is that stakeholders have a relevant role in the development and success (or failure) of complex projects.



The term stakeholder arose in 1963, in a consulting service made by the Stanford Research Institute, as a way of describing a group of people and organizations that are not shareholders, but without their support the company may cease to operate or exist (Silva Neto, 2011).

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