Stakeholder Management

Published Papers

Full length conference papers and refereed articles, available as PDFs for downloading.





 Core Papers

  • Project Relationships and the Stakeholder Circle®
    Project success and failure is directly related to its stakeholders’ perceptions of the value created by the project and the nature of their relationship with the project team. The project’s success, or failure, is strongly influenced by both the expectations and perceptions of its stakeholders, and the capability and willingness of project managers to manage these factors and the organisation’s politics.

    A stakeholder management methodology and visualisation tool, the Stakeholder Circle®, was developed to assist in this process and was the foundation for the research described in this paper. The Stakeholder Circle is based on the premise that a project can only exist with the informed consent of its stakeholder community. The methodology supported by the tool provides an effective mechanism for assessing the relative influence of a project’s stakeholders, understanding their expectations and defining appropriate engagement procedures to influence the key stakeholders expectations and perceptions to the benefit of the project.

    The new approaches to project relationship management in the form of the theory implicit in the Stakeholder Circle methodology and visualisation tool will benefit the projects, organizations and the project management profession through improving the occurrences of project success.

    - Download the paper (P010: PDF 900kb)
  • Project Relationship Management and the Stakeholder Circle® (Thesis)
    A dissertation submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Project Management (DPM) awarded by the RMIT University.

    Dr Lynda Bourne investigated the concept that a project’s success or failure is closely aligned with perceptions of the project held by its key stakeholders; and that project teams can manage these perceptions to create success. The research resulted in a new tool, the Stakeholder Circle® that maps each stakeholder community in a unique way, allowing the project team to effectively focus its stakeholder engagement strategies.

    - Download the paper (P021: PDF - 6,678 kb)
  • SRMM:  The five stages of Stakeholder Relationship Management Maturity
    The central role of stakeholders in the successful delivery of projects is becoming increasingly recognised. However, whilst critical to success, these roles are neither passive nor predetermined. The project team has significant opportunities to influence stakeholder’s perceptions and expectations for the benefit of both the stakeholders and the project; but only when there are effective relationships in place with each key stakeholder.

    Identifying, mapping and prioritising a project’s stakeholder community is only the beginning.  Projects can only be considered successful when their key stakeholders acknowledge they are a success.  This requires the project team to effectively engage with each of its key stakeholders to understand and manage their expectations and then deliver the project to meet or exceed these ‘managed expectations’. Expectations are never ‘fixed’; effective communication can help change perceptions and expectations to make them realistic and achievable. Conversely, ineffective communications can create the perception of failure in the mind of a stakeholder even when the project is ‘on time, on budget and delivering the specified scope’.

    Engaging effectively and ethically with key stakeholders to help create a successful project outcome requires significant levels of skill and maturity. This paper will define the five levels of SRMM and suggest a route most organisations can follow to progress from ‘Level 1’ to ‘Level 5’.  The 5 levels of SRMM are:
      1. Ad hoc:  some use of processes
      2. Procedural:  focus on processes and tools
      3. Relational:  focus on the Stakeholders and mutual benefits
      4. Integrated:  methodology is repeatable and integrated across all programs and projects
      5. Predictive:  used for health checks and predictive risk assessment and management.

    - Download the paper  (P067: PDF 421kb) 


Alphabetical Listing

  • Advising Upwards – Helping your Managers help you
    Advising upwards is a difficult skill for project and program managers to acquire. This paper uses modern stakeholder management theory as the basis for approaches designed to help successfully deliver projects within traditional organisations by appreciating the communication needs of senior executives and incorporating mutuality within the key supportive relationships.
    See also Lynda's book of the same title: Go to our book page
    - Download the paper (P128: PDF - 525 kb) 
  • Communications Control?
    Information supports the decision makers, informs people and organisations of the work required to be done, monitors progress, and provides support and assurance at all levels of the organisation of progress or of the need for intervention. This paper explores how communication in the form of information exchange controls and assists the work of organisations to deliver value to all stakeholders.

    - Download the paper (P160: PDF - 369 kb)
  • Implementing effective stakeholder engagement: Stakeholder Relationship Management Maturity (SRMM®)
    The ROI from investing in building an effective stakeholder management culture can be significant and the SRMM® model is designed to help organisation develop an effective culture of engagement that works for them.

    - Download the presentation (P175: PDF - 619 kb)

  • The Paradox of Project Control
    This paper explores the hypothesis that, within complex matrix organisations, the ‘zone’ between the strategic vision set by senior management and the projects created to fulfil it, is a highly complex and dynamic organism. Stimulus to the organism may, or may not produce change. The change may be slight or catastrophic, beneficial or detrimental, and cannot be predicted. Succeeding in this environment needs a different management paradigm from that developed for management in traditional project industries.

    The paradigm shift in management thinking needed to succeed in managing projects across the ‘zone’ is acceptance that the outcome from any management input to the ‘zone’ is unpredictable. To succeed, managers need to combine vigilance and flexibility; to identify and capitalise on unexpected gains and deal with unexpected problems. Communication networks and more flexible management of relationships are keys to resolving problems and creating success in the dynamic ever-changing environment of the ‘zone’.

    - Download the paper (P038: PDF - 410 kb)
  • Using a Visualisation Tool to Study Stakeholder Influence - Two Australian Examples
    This paper illustrates the use of the Stakeholder Circle® as a tool for measuring and visualising stakeholder influence drawing upon two case study examples. The paper is exploratory in nature and the case studies used provide a useful vehicle for reflection and sense making. The tool was found by the case study respondents to be useful and that it also complements and enhances risk management.

    Download the paper (P047: PDF - 608 kb)
  • Published papers are added on a regular basis
    An extended list of papers focusing on Stakeholder Managment can be found at: