Stakeholders and Transnational Projects
The project stakeholder literature has developed into a voluminous body of knowledge in recent years. However, comparatively little research has focused on “transnational projects”. Such projects, which have been or are being executed at the inter-governmental level or by non-state entities, have become ubiquitous and very numerous over time, especially with the advent of globalization, and many exhibit an enormous level of technical complexity and resource-intensiveness, long durations, and their outcomes not only affect in both positive and negative ways the lives of millions of stakeholders but can also profoundly influence the relationship between states. Hence, given the very high economic, social and political stakes evidently associated with transnational projects – and taking into consideration the now universal interest in and the great importance accorded to project stakeholder management and engagement – there is a need to carefully study and evaluate these projects in stakeholder perspective. Doing so can help identify and exploit opportunities to the fullest, facilitate positive perceptions and mitigate the risk of conflict or animosity arising between states with all its ensuing negative ramifications.
For their exploratory research, the authors selectively examined dozens of large transnational projects in construction, transportation, energy, industrial manufacturing and other fields across the globe. Four distinct categories were identified under which transnational projects may be grouped, namely, cooperative, collaborative, integrative, and divisive, along with a fifth overlapping category wherein projects simultaneously exhibit both cooperative, collaborative or integrative, as well as divisive character. Each category is discussed with examples. This category spectrum per se constitutes a useful contextual framework which permits careful analysis and assessment of stakeholders’ key attributes, notably their respective interests, motivations and concerns regarding transnational projects, and consequently delivers important insights to the initiators, planners and executors of such projects through which effective and ethical strategies and approaches can be devised which seek not only to ensure fair benefit and cost sharing among stakeholders but also that as many, if not all, stakeholders ultimately derive net benefits from the projects.