External Stakeholder Management in the Construction Process

Abstract: Construction projects affect the community in both positive and negative ways. Positive effects are, for instance, better communications, better housing, and a higher standard of living. However, construction projects inevitably bring with them deterioration and changes on the local plane, at the site of the construction project. Thus, in construction projects, many different and sometimes controversial interests must be considered. Representatives of these interests are referred to as the project stakeholders. The stakeholders in a project can be divided into internal and external stakeholders, the internal stakeholders are those who are members of the project coalition or who provide finance; the external stakeholders are those others affected by the project in a significant way (Calvert 1995, from Winch, Bonke 2002). The purpose of this research project is to contribute to, and increase, our knowledge concerning external stakeholder management in the construction process, and to develop methods and tools for the evaluation and management of external stakeholder influence. The contribution of this study to construction project managers is: • An increased knowledge of how an external stakeholder management process presents it self in construction projects. • Suggests different strategies to an external stakeholder management process. • Suggests different tools that can be used for analysing the influence of external stakeholders. The main tool, described in this study, is the stakeholder map and the power interest matrix. Furthermore this study points to the importance of the project management to identify those stakeholders who can affect the project, and then managing their differing demands through good communication. Thus, the challenge for the project management is to find the best solutions for all stakeholders involved and try to get an acceptance for that solution, which probably is only possible through a good and communicative dialogue, and after a carefully conducted stakeholder management process. This would indicate that a more ambitious strategy in the external stakeholder management process would increase the possibility of resolving conflicting interests. However, a more ambitious strategy also requires more resources. Hence, the dilemma for the project management is to balance the use of resources with the appropriate strategy towards each individual stakeholder group.

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