Understanding Project Stakeholder Psychology: The Path to Effective Project Stakeholder Management and Engagement
Effective stakeholder management and engagement is now universally acknowledged by project management practitioners as a crucial critical success factor for virtually every project. However, many projects still encounter serious and unaddressed issues and challenges in dealing with their stakeholders, especially external ones. Often this entails significantly damaging repercussions for both the projects and their stakeholders. A major cause for this deficiency is the evident paucity of knowledge about the underlying psychological factors which profoundly influence stakeholders to act as they do towards projects. On many projects, especially in construction and civil infrastructure development, stakeholders collectively tend to constitute an exceedingly diverse, large and complex community and in project perspective their actions may range from highly supportive to indifferent to highly adversarial. These stances, moreover, are not static but can change over the project life-cycle potentially increasing the level of project risk.
Based on an in-depth analysis of available documentation on numerous large completed and on-going projects across the globe, primarily in construction and civil infrastructure development, this research attempts to address this serious knowledge gap. It identifies and discusses seven key psychological factors – interest, motivation, concern, attitude, behavior, expectation and perception – which apply universally to all internal and external stakeholders on every project, whether individual, organizational or otherwise. A thorough understanding of these factors and why and how they influence stakeholders to adopt positions pro or contra projects is essential to assist project owners, planners and executors craft highly effective management and engagement strategies which constitute the foundation for development of an amicable, ethical, mutually beneficial and sustainable relationship with their stakeholders throughout the project life-cycle. By doing so, they can maximize the opportunities for their projects while concurrently and proactively reducing or minimizing the risks to them, existential or lessor, which typically would ensue from possible stakeholder opposition to their projects.
PMI Talent Triangle Skill: Leadership