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Abstract

Purpose The purpose of this paper is to create a “refined” (with unnecessary elements removed) definition of the term stakeholder, thereby removing confusion surrounding the use of this term from the general and project management arenas. Design/methodology/approach A method of deriving refined definitions for a group of terms by ensuring there are no unnecessary elements causing internal conflict or overlap is adopted and applied to resolve the confusion. Findings The refined definitions of stake and stakeholder are in terms of an interest and activity. This avoids all extensions of meaning introduced by defining particular types of stakeholders and/ or their degrees of impact. It also resolves the multiplicity of conflicting meanings possible when silent or assumed qualifiers of a word are ignored, restricting definition to, for example, project stakeholders or stakeholders of a firm. These definitions are carried forward into a mapping of the stakeholder locus of interest on an activity rather than a company base, enabling generic categorisation of stakeholders to be proposed for use in both private and public sectors. A governance difficulty with the term customer also emerged and a resolution to this is proposed. Research limitations/implications Resolution of the academic contention around the definition of stakeholders will facilitate future research endeavours by removing confusion surrounding the term. It can also provide clarity in governance arrangements in public and private sectors. Verification of the method used through its success in deriving this “refined” definition suggests its suitability for application to other contested terms. Practical implications Projects and businesses alike can benefit from removal of confusion around the definition of stakeholder in the academic research they fund and attempt to apply. Social implications A refined definition of the stakeholder concept will facilitate building social and physical systems and infrastructure, benefitting organisations, whether public, charitable or private. Originality/value Clarity results in the avoidance of confusion and misunderstanding together with their consequent waste of time, resources and money.
Stakeholder defined
Stephen Keith McGrath and Stephen Jonathan Whitty
Faculty of Business, Education, Law and Arts,
University of Southern Queensland, Springfield, Australia
Abstract
Purpose The purpose of this paper is to create a refined(with unnecessary elements removed) definition
of the term stakeholder, thereby removing confusion surrounding the use of this term from the general and
project management arenas.
Design/methodology/approach A method of deriving refined definitions for a group of terms by
ensuring there are no unnecessary elements causing internal conflict or overlap is adopted and applied to
resolve the confusion.
Findings The refined definitions of stake and stakeholder are in terms of an interest and activity.
This avoids all extensions of meaning introduced by defining particular types of stakeholders and/ or their
degrees of impact. It also resolves the multiplicity of conflicting meanings possible when silent or assumed
qualifiers of a word are ignored, restricting definition to, for example, project stakeholders or stakeholders of a
firm. These definitions are carried forward into a mapping of the stakeholder locus of interest on an
activity rather than a company base, enabling generic categorisation of stakeholders to be proposed for use in
both private and public sectors. A governance difficulty with the term customer also emerged and a
resolution to this is proposed.
Research limitations/implications Resolution of the academic contention around the definition of
stakeholders will facilitate future research endeavours by removing confusion surrounding the term. It can also
provide clarity in governance arrangements in public and private sectors. Verification of the method used through
its success in deriving this refineddefinition suggests its suitability for application to other contested terms.
Practical implications Projects and businesses alike can benefit from removal of confusion around the
definition of stakeholder in the academic research they fund and attempt to apply.
Social implications A refined definition of the stakeholder concept will facilitate building social and
physical systems and infrastructure, benefitting organisations, whether public, charitable or private.
Originality/value Clarity results in the avoidance of confusion and misunderstanding together with their
consequent waste of time, resources and money.
Keywords Stakeholder, Customer, Define, Refined definition, Stake
Paper type Conceptual paper
Introduction
Stakeholder management has provided a linkage between ethics and management since
Freeman (1984) broadened its remit beyond its previous confines of company shareholders.
There has been increasing usage of the concept of stakeholders since that time with
Fassin (2009) noting its popularity. There has also been considerable contention over what
the term actually means (Eskerod and Huemann, 2013; Littau et al., 2010; Mainardes et al.,
2011; Miles, 2012) and this contention remains unresolved. Resolving this contention would
remove the need for future academic definitional effort and potentially result in clarity of use
benefitting practitioners as well
This paper therefore sets out to propose a resolution using an approach that has not
previously been applied to the stakeholder concept. It explores the concept from a purely
definitional viewpoint. This is informed by previous definitions as well as by current trends
in thinking around the concept and by accommodating the definitional aspects only of these
different viewpoints without entering into any other debate concerning them. A method for
defining conceptual terms is adopted to produce definitions that are refined, i.e. with
unnecessary elements removed. The derived and previous definitions are then taken
forward into a mapping of the stakeholder locus of interest, starting with a project
management reference point and progressing to genericity.
This process highlights the previous dependency of stakeholder theory upon the joint-
stock company model. Category and role definitions are proposed to resolve this.
International Journal of Managing
Projects in Business
Vol. 10 No. 4, 2017
pp. 721-748
© Emerald Publishing Limited
1753-8378
DOI 10.1108/IJMPB-12-2016-0097
Received 18 December 2016
Revised 8 June 2017
Accepted 30 June 2017
The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available on Emerald Insight at:
www.emeraldinsight.com/1753-8378.htm
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Adoption of the definitions proposed can remove confusion surrounding the term and
potentially result in clearer project governance arrangements, remove confusion and
potentially achieve improved project, organisational, individual and research outcomes.
The findings have implications for stakeholder theory and for project management as well
as for government and private sector organisations that initiate projects.
Definitional confusion regarding stakeholders
The importance of definition of terms was recognised by Socrates, Plato and Aristotle, as noted
by Smith (2014, p. 316) who wrote The definition was an important matter for Plato,Concern
with answering the question What is so-and-so?are at the centre of the majority of Platos
dialoguesand Aristotle himself traces the quest for definitions back to Socrates(Smith,
2014). Nearly 2,000 years later, Hobbes (1996) wrote To conclude, the light of humane minds is
perspicuous words, but by exact definitions first snuffed, and purged from ambiguity; reason is
the pace; increase of science, the way; and the benefit of mankind, the end(p. 32). Accepting
this view, we seek to provide some benefit to mankind and science in general and both project
and general management in particular by removing ambiguity from the meaning of the term
stakeholder. The need to do this was pointed out by McGrath and Whitty (2015).
Eskerod et al. (2015) documented development of stakeholder management, noting
definitions going back to the 1960s. Fassin (2009) noted that Stakeholder management has
become an important tool to transfer ethics to management practice and strategyand
Huemann et al. (2016, pp. 24-27) point out the need to consider management forrather than
ofstakeholders. The stakeholder area has also been elevated in importance in the Guide to
the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK Guide) (Project Management
Institute, 2013), having been added as a new knowledge area, whereas it had previously
been covered under communications.
Miles (2012) concluded that stakeholder is an essentially contested concept as defined by
Gallie (1956), noting:
The concept of the stakeholderhas become central to business, yet there is no common consensus
as to what the concept of a stakeholder means, with hundreds of different published definitions
suggested. Whilst every concept is liable to be contested, for stakeholder research, this is
problematic for both theoretical and empirical analysis (Miles, 2012, p. 285).
Miles (2012, p. 285) also noted Miles (2011) analysis of 435 different definitions from 493
articles: a new definition every 1.13 articles published.Othershavemadesimilarobservations:
Despite this widespread usage, many who adopt the term neither define the concept nor provide
any particularly clear understanding of what they mean as regards what a stakeholder actually is.
Even in academic circles, countless definitions of stakeholderhave been put forward without any
of those suggested ever gaining consensus, and hence there is no single, definitive and generally
accepted definition (Mainardes et al., 2011, p. 228).
Mainardes et al. (2011) also counted a total of total of 66 different concepts for the term
stakeholderwithin several references. We note that these were all within the
organisational ambit, which did not consider usage as applied to individual behaviour,
such as parents having a stake in the actions of their children or fans having a stake in the
actions of celebrities. They concluded:
[] one question requiring resolution is that of the stakeholder term itself. The profusion of
definitions hinders understanding as to what the term actually represents. Establishing boundaries
to the concept would go a long way towards resolving a series of issues posed by researchers in this
field (Mainardes et al., 2011, p. 242).
Eskerod and Huemann (2013, p. 45) also noted there are many definitions of stakeholders
and considered it is important to consider in the future the pros and cons of a project
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stakeholder definition that is inclusive, i.e. includes many stakeholders regardless of their
power to influence the project process or project results. This paper addresses that issue by
developing an inclusive stakeholder definition.
The theoretical frame of stakeholder theory
The motivation for development of the stakeholder concept is set out in Mainardes et al.
(2011) as follows:
The origin of the stakeholder concept lies in the business science literature (Freeman, 1984), and
may be traced back even as far as Adam Smith and his The Theory of Moral Sentiments.Its
modern utilization in management literature was brought about by the Stanford Research
Institute, which introduced the term in 1963 to generalize and expand the notion of the
shareholders as the only group that management needed to be sensitive towards ( Jongbloed et al.,
2008). Within this perspective, Freeman (1984) argued that business organizations should be
concerned about the interests of other stakeholders when taking strategic decisions (Mainardes
et al., 2011, p. 227).
In broadening the stakeholder concept from its previous meaning that was restricted to
shareholders, Freeman (1984) argued that there are other parties involved including
customers, employees, suppliers, governments, competitors, consumer advocates,
environmentalists, special interest groups and the media.
Littau et al. (2010, p. 17) focussed on stakeholders in relation to project management
and noted Cleland (1986) introduced stakeholders and stakeholder management
processes to the project management canon by highlighting the importance of stakeholder
identification, classification, analysis, and management approach formulation.
Littau et al. (2010, p. 18) also:
[] concluded that the understanding of the term stakeholder is moving toward a more
comprehensive and multilateral view. Stakeholdersareconsideredasmoreimportant
in the context of project management. And finally we found that the drivers of stakeholder
theory development are from articles related to the context of project evaluation and
project strategy.
Littau et al. (2010, p. 21) further stated:
[] we searched for definitions in all 116 articles. Among 116 articles, 28 articles mentioned a
definition for stakeholder in their articles, which represents 24% of the total stakeholder articles.
Among 28 definitions, 22 were unique definitions, either defined by the author himself or by some
other author.
These definitions were characterised into three groups, an interest-in or stake-in group, an
affect or is affected by group and hybrids of both. Littau et al. (2010) also found that usage
within project management has fluctuated over time with the interest-in definitions having
significance over their surveyed range of 25 years till 2009.
Cleland also offered several project management definitions; Other clientele who have a
vested interest in the outcome of the projectin Cleland (1985), [] individuals and
institutions who share a stake or an interest in the projectin Cleland (1986, p. 36) and
Stakeholders are those persons or organisations that have, or claim to have an interest or
share in the project undertakingin Cleland (1989, p. 31). So these project management
definitions progressed from vested interestto stake or an interestto interest or share,
with interest remaining through all three.
So there is therefore confusion over the meaning of the term stakeholder generally and
also some confusion within the field of project management. Furthermore the attention the
concept has received has been within an organisational context.
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Research questions
We seek to clarify and resolve this confusion by developing definitions that are applicable
generally and not restricted to any single field or to the organisational ambit. We approach
this by proposing the following research questions:
RQ1. What is the essence of the term stakeholder that can define its meaning across all
fields of study and without restriction to an organisational ambit?
RQ2. How does this definition affect categorisations of stakeholders?
Our approach and method for addressing the first research question will be explained in the
following sections. We will then address the second research question by depicting the
stakeholder locus of interest, then considering the implications for project stakeholders,
government and business.
Approach
McGrath and Whitty (2015) demonstrated the pitfalls of defining single intellectual
conceptual terms within the bounds of one single field and in isolation from other terms.
Their approach had objectivist epistemology with a positivist theoretical perspective that
seeks to define objective content without claiming that the derived definitions describe
anything existential. McGrath and Whitty (2015) simply defined concepts non-normatively,
producing definitions which, if agreed and adopted, have the potential to remove
unnecessary debate and confusion. They took the view that while there may be no absolute
truth, to be productive as a society, a discourse that is inclusive and removes confusion is
necessary, one that all can participate in, with shared understanding of meaning, removing
accidental and undetected differences. This position is therefore midway between (or partly
both) realist and post-modernist, as this apparatus (ensuring consistency and universality of
terminology), can replace chaos with order. We will therefore use their method to address
RQ1 and determine the essence of the stakeholder term.
Method
The McGrath and Whitty (2015) definitional refining method is set out as follows.
Group rules pre-definition:
(1) Select the group of terms to be defined.
(2) Determine the order of definition as follows:
identify any inconsistencies within the group that may require one term to be
defined before another;
where a compound term is to be defined, define the component terms first;
where a derivative term is to be defined, define the root term first; and
where a term has a noun and a verb form, define the verb first.
(3) Consider any terms that are likely to be used in definition that may themselves
require prior definition.
Steps to determine a connotative (intensional) conventional definition of each term:
(1) Define derivative or component terms using the root or component definitions that
have previously been defined by this process or are clear and accepted in their
meaning (This obviates the need to proceed through the remaining definitional steps
unless there is other reason to do so, such as confusion in the meaning of the
compound or derivative term itself ).
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(2) Survey lexical usage (This and the following two steps may be omitted if there is a
known comprehensive academic review of definitions of the term).
(3) Analyse this to determine the main contenders for inclusion in the definition (and
show these in pale grey highlight).
(4) Develop a connotative (intensional) conventional definition (This may be
synonymous, operational or by genus and difference).
(5) Report and analyse any known academic review of definitions of the term.
(6) Remove unwarranted inclusions.
(7) Remove divergence of meaning resulting from mixing content and process by
removing any reference to content ( for generic conceptual terms).
(8) Remove any remaining divergence of meaning and for operational definitions,
consider the need for additional inclusions, by checking against the following,
as appropriate to the particular term:
historical usage;
field/specialty usage the definition most generic to as many fields as possible
will be selected;
practitioner usage (via practitioner literature, considering the influence of
opinion and marketing); and
Competing concepts and frameworks (considering the influence of opinion and
marketing).
(9) Check any resulting definitions by genus and difference against the Copi and
Cohens (1990) five rules and discard any which do not satisfy them.
(10) Report the derived definition (Note: this change corrects what appears to have been a
typographical error in the source paper, in which all applications of the method used
the word derived).
Group rules post definition:
(1) Cross-check terms defined in this group for any inconsistency and resolve.
(2) Cross-check any terms defined in this group known to be used interchangeably with
other terms outside the group and resolve any inconsistency.
The five rules for checking a definition by genus and difference, sourced from Copi and
Cohen (1990, pp. 151-5), are as follows:
(1) states the essential attributes of the species;
(2) avoids circularity;
(3) neither too broad nor too narrow;
(4) avoids ambiguous, obscure or figurative language; and
(5) affirmative rather than negative.
Lexical usage will be sourced from the following dictionary sources:
(1) A range of dictionaries that have been well known for many years that were
available (in 2013/2014) online (Cambridge, 2017; Collins English Dictionary, 2017;
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Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English, 2017; Macmillan Dictionary, 2017;
Macquarie Dictionary, 2017; Merriam-Webster, 2017; Oxford Dictionaries, 2017).
(2) A range of various online dictionaries (BusinessDictionary, 2017; Dictionary.com,
2017; TheFreeDictionary, 2017; Wiktionary, 2017).
(3) The Concise Oxford Dictionary (Fowler and Fowler 1964) as a comparator for how
these definitions may have changed over the last 50 years.
Group rules pre-definition
Group pre-definition rule 1 select the group of terms to be defined
Although stakeholder management provides a linkage between ethics and management,
its definition is independent of these other terms, and so the term stakeholder can be defined
without reference to any other terms.
Group pre-definition rule 2 determine the order of definition
Rule 2(a): identify group term inconsistencies
None present.
Rule 2(b): compound terms
There are no compound terms in the group.
Rule 2(c): derivative terms
The term stakeholder has the word stake as its root and stem. Stake will therefore be
defined first.
Rule 2(d): define verb form of term before the noun form
There are no verbs in the group.
General:
The order of definition will therefore be as follows: stake, stakeholder.
Define stakeand stakeholder
Step 1: define derivative or component terms
Stakeholder is a compound term and so the word stake will first be defined.
Step 2: survey lexical usage
Lexical usage is surveyed in Tables AI and AII.
Step 3: analyse lexical usage
While the term stake is still used to mean a pointed stick or post or peg driven into the
ground, it is the conceptual term we are defining here, not the physical term.
Words used to define the concept denoted by the word stake in Table AI are interest,
wager, risk, share, concern, connection and claim, in decreasing order of occurrence.
Except for risk, all the words following interest are particular types of interest. Risk has a
management connotation and is not really an appropriate word for describing a fans stake
in a celebritys behaviour or a parents stake in their childs behaviour. Interest is the most
generic word and will be selected.
The word interest is also used in the majority of the definitions of stakeholder
in Table AII, which also refers to a person, group or organisation. To keep the definition as
generic and succinct as possible, the word entity will be used to cover all of these.
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Step 4: develop a connotative (intensional) conventional definition
Stake will be tentatively defined as an interest and stakeholder will be consequently defined
as an entity with a stake (interest) in the subject activity.
The ease of determining these definitions from the lexical usage belies the academic
difficulty that prompted the need to define these terms in the first place.
Step 5: report academic review of definitions
Clarkson (1994) undertook a similar exercise to define stake and stakeholder and concluded
that definition should be based on risk. We have rejected that on the grounds that risk is not
as generic as interest. So our definition is not the same but does not conflict, as if one has
risked something, one will have an interest. This definition led him into categorising
stakeholders as voluntary or involuntary. We note that this approach did not achieve
the subsequent general agreement that it potentially could have in the years since, as
evidenced by the subsequent documentation of ongoing confusion mentioned earlier
(Littau et al., 2010; Miles, 2012).
Fassin (2009, p. 116) also reviewed definitions of stakeholders and their categorisations,
concluding that A stakeholder refers to any individual or group that maintains a stake in an
organisation in the way that a shareholder possesses shares. While this definition does
acknowledge the root term stake, it restricts the definition to companies and so is not
suitable for generic use. It also poses problems for usage of the terms stakewatcherand
stakekeeper. Within the project management field, these are both referred to as stakeholders,
and labelling those with formal roles or direct responsibility as the real stakeholderswould
simply double up on governance roles and cause confusion. Interestingly, using companies as
the starting point also parallels the difficulty that resulted from a section of governance theory
also presuming the joint-stock company model, as noted in McGrath and Whitty (2015, p. 783).
This led to the concept of public governancedeveloping to accommodate government
organisations. This highlights the confusion that can arise when definitions are determined
without regard to other fields or disciplines.
In assessing definitions of the term, Bourne (2005) settles on the definition of stakeas
an interest, a right or ownership. This definition of stakeis inclusive of Freemans definition
given in Miles (2012), as whoever or whatever affects or is affected bythe activity in question
will have an interest when that affect becomes apparent. While interesthere was intended to
mean something less than a right or ownership, both of these latter terms can also be described
as an interest and so do not need to be included in a generic definition.
Fassin (2009) noted claimant,influencerdefinitions and also the combinatory definition:
[] any group or individual that can affect or is affected by the achievement of an organisations
objectives(Freeman, 1984, p. 46). This, now classical, definition has become the most accepted of
the definitions of a stakeholder, and has greater precision than the shorter version those who can
affect or can be affected by the firm’” (p. 116).
However, as noted above, while this is restricted to a company situation and is not
sufficiently generic to be used here, it does not conflict with the proposed definition. If one
seeks to influence or make a claim, one has an interest.
Fassin (2009) also noted many other attempts at classification such as primary
versus secondary, direct or indirect, generic versus specific, legitimate versus derivative,
strategic and moral, core, strategic and environmentaland classifying based on the
attributes of power, legitimacy and urgency, as well as distinguishing between
normative stakeholders, who have a moral obligation to the organisation, and derivative
stakeholders including competitors, activists, terrorists, the media, and also other
dangerousor dormantstakeholders such as blackmailers or thieves (Fassin, 2009,
p. 116). While these classifications cannot form any part of our definition, which is by
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intension rather than by extension, they all nevertheless fall within the ambit of the
proposed definition.
Bourne (2005) says Stakeholders are individuals or groups who have an interest or some
aspect of rights or ownership in the project, can contribute in the form of knowledge or
support, or can impact or be impacted by, the project. The stakeholder concept is wider
than just projects. So de-selecting the extensions from the Bourne definition and qualifying
it with the way it arises produces the following definition of a stakeholder as an individual
or group with a stake (interest) in the subject activity. This avoids the sub-classification
issue and accords exactly with the proposed definition. It is suitable for application to both
projects and organisations (both private and government) and to activities that are not
projects, such as changing regulations (although the activity of making such changes can, of
course be managed as a project). It accommodates the clusters of definitions mentioned in
Miles (2012) which include Freeman (1984) affects and affected by; Clarkson (1995)
primary,secondaryand at risk; Mitchell et al. (1997) power legitimacy urgency;
and the Stanford Research Institute (1963) without whose supportdefinitions. Two further
categories of definitions are mentioned in Fassin (2009), namely, Kaler (2002) claimant and
influencerand Phillips et al. (2003) normative and derivative, which are also
accommodated in the proposed definition.
Eskerod and Huemann (2013) examined three project management standards and found
that two of them, PMBOK and PRINCE2, have definitions of the type affect or are affected
by, with the International Competence Baseline having an interested in or constrained by
definition (Eskerod and Huemann, 2013, p. 42).
An emerging trend in stakeholder management can be identified from Eskerod and
Huemann (2013, p. 36) who considered putting stakeholder management in the context of
sustainable development would ask for a paradigm shift in the underpinning values.
There is nothing in the proposed definition that would preclude this. Huemann et al. (2013)
also considered:
Integrating economic, ecologic, and social interests of project stakeholders, etc.
Broadening the time perspective to consider not only current stakeholders but also
future stakeholders of the investment initialised by the project.
Broadening the spatial perspective to consider local, regional as well as global
impacts of the project for stakeholders.
They also considered stakeholders such as the project personnel, suppliers, partners,
communities, as well as economic, social and ecological perspectives. All of these are
accommodated by the proposed definition which also does not preclude greater emphasis of
management for rather than of stakeholders or the inclusion of sustainable development
within stakeholder management.
While we make no comment in this paper on any stakeholder management
techniques, it is perhaps worthwhile noting that, in practical project management terms,
competitors, terrorists, blackmailers, fraudsters and thieves, all of whom could
be said to have an interest and are therefore included in the tentative definition, would
typically be introduced to consideration via risk management (as per Office of
Government Commerce, 2009) rather than being elevated to stakeholder status under
stakeholder management, or communications (as per Project Management
Institute, 2008). So the differing categorisation of stakeholders in both these standards
identified in Eskerod and Huemann (2013) do not conflict with the tentative definition;
they simply add specification by extension. The tentative definition therefore seems
robust and neither precludes nor proscribes any method of classifying or dealing
with stakeholders.
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The academic definitional difficulty seems to have arisen from the variety of types and/
or categories of stakeholders producing conflicting definitions by extension rather than
defining by intension, which focusses on the essential meaning of an English language
word. The fact that different types or categories can be defined differently is unsurprising as
they are effectively definitions of a phrase containing the word stakeholder rather than
definitions of a single word. The different qualifying words are needed to convey a
different meaning, otherwise the qualification would be unnecessary. The mistake is in
either not recognising, or inadvertently omitting, the qualifying word(s) in the phrase and
seeking supremacy for the accepted usage of the word in one particular field or section of it
over all others.
Practically all of the academic definitions have the word interest or some equivalent, and
so, amongst the apparent disagreement, the agreement on the meaning of the single word
actually seems quite strong and is also in accordance with the lexical usage.
This discussion therefore finds no reason to alter the definitions derived from
lexical usage.
Step 6: remove unwarranted inclusions
There are no such inclusions remaining.
Step 7: remove mixed content/ process meanings
None present.
Step 8: reduce divergence/consider additional inclusions
Checks (a) and (b) are appropriate for this term.
Step 8(a): consider historical usage. While it is the conceptual noun form we are concerned
with here, it provides useful context to include the etymology of both the noun and the verb
forms of the word stake in both physical and conceptual versions of the terms.
The etymology of physical noun stake (n. 1) is as follows:
[]pointed stick or post,Old English staca pin, stake,from Proto-Germanic *stakon (source
also of Old Norse stiaki, Danish stage, Old Frisian stake, Middle Dutch stake, Dutch staak, German
stake), from PIE root *steg- (1) pole, stick.The Germanic word has been borrowed in Spanish
(estaca), Old French (estaque), and Italian stacca) and was borrowed back as attach. Meaning
post upon which persons were bound for death by burningis recorded from c. 1200. Meaning
vertical bar affixed to the edge of a platform of a truck, rail car, etc., to hold boards to keep the load
from falling offis from 1875; hence stake-body as a type of truck (1907). In pull up stakes,
The allusion is to pulling up the stakes of a tent[Bartlett] (Harper, 2017, p. P77).
The etymology of physical verb stake (v. 1) is as follows:
[] early 14c., to mark (land) with stakes,from stake (n. 1). Hence, to stake a claim (1857).
Meaning to maintain surveilance(usually stake out) is first recorded 1942, American English
colloquial, probably form earlier sense of mark off territory.Related: Staked; staking. Old English
had stacung piercing of an effigy by a pin or stake(in witchcraft); staccan pierce with a stake,
spit(Harper, 2017, p. P77).
The etymology of conceptual noun stake (n.2), which is the term we are concerned with here,
is as follows:
[]that which is placed at hazard,1530s, from stake (v.). Perhaps literally that which is put up,
from notion of post on which a gambling wager was placed,though OED points out there is
no evidence of the existence of such a custom.Weekley suggests there is a tinge of the burning or
baiting metaphorin this usage. Hence, an interest, something to gain or lose(1784). Plural stakes,
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sum of money to be won in a (horse) race,first recorded 1690s (compare sweepstakes). To have a
stake in is recorded from 1784 (Harper, 2017, p. P77).
The etymology of conceptual verb stake (v. 2) is as follows:
[]to risk, wager,1520s, perhaps from notion of post on which a gambling wager was placed
(see stake (n. 2)), though Weekley suggests there is a tinge of the burning or baiting metaphorin
this usage. Meaning to maintain surveillance(usually stake out) is first recorded 1942, American
English colloquial, probably form earlier sense of mark off territory.Related: Staked;
staking (Harper, 2017, p. P77).
It is therefore evident that reference to the physical object has developed into a conceptual
term representing various applications of the physical term.
The etymology of the noun stakeholder is as follows: 1708, from stake (n. 2) +agent noun
from hold (v.). Originally one with whom bets are deposited when a wager is made
(Harper, 2017, p. P77).
In summary, a stake has been understood to be an interest since 1784, an amount of
money risked or gambled, which accords with the derived definition above. Similarly since
1708 a stakeholder has been understood to hold an interest, while previously it had referred
to an uninvolved person who simply held the money on someone elses behalf. So this
consideration of etymology provides no reason to alter the proposed definitions.
Step 8(b): consider field/speciality usage. Use of the word entityin the stakeholder
definition includes the natural living environment ( flora and fauna) without relying on
governments or pressure groups providing a mouthpiece. It could also be construed to
include the more esoteric concept of the spiritof inanimate objects.
Step 9: check against the five rules
The definition of stakeis synonymous and that of stakeholder is by genus and difference
and satisfies Rules 1 to 5.
Step 10: report the derived definition
The derived refined definitions are as follows:
Stake ¼an interest
Stakeholder ¼an entity with a stake (interest) in the subject activity.
Group rules post definition
Cross-check 1: consistency within group
The definitional method has not resulted in any inconsistency between terms in this group.
Cross-check 2: consistency with terms outside the group
There is no known overlap of meaning of any of the above group of terms with any other
term outside the group that would prevent the definitions being accepted.
Summary of definitions
The derived refined definitions are as follows:
Stake: an interest
Stakeholder: an entity with a stake (interest) in the subject activity
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The stakeholder locus of interest and its categorisation
Having addressed RQ1, defining stakeholder in terms of interest in an activity, we can now
approach RQ2 by mapping the stakeholder space.
We also note that by doing so we are partly accommodating the following statement in
the literature; However, very few scholars go onto link their analysis to the graphical
scheme, and thus avoid analysing the inconsistencies that may exist between their
definitions and the graphical model(Fassin, 2009, p. 118). While we will not use the
graphical representations of Freeman referred to by Fassin, all of those elements find a place
within our representation, albeit under different names.
In developing our representation, we have used and/or accommodated terminology from
the previously considered competing definitions and distinguished only between categories
of stakeholders and not categories of stakeholder management techniques. We seek to
clarify the former and exclude the latter, as we do not here wish to comment on any
particular stakeholder management technique.
These previously considered competing definitions and categorisations can all be seen as
dealing with some particular interest relating to a particular type of activity or content
area, or to a particular type of relationship to the activity, as noted by Miles (2012, p. 295) in
saying Different stakeholder definitions highlight core themes and give weighting to
components that are relevant to the context and situation in which they are developing or
using the construct.
Stakeholders become important as soon as we undertake some form of activity and so,
taking the lead from the derived definition, we depict categories of stakeholder interest
relative to a single generic activity. This also seemed to be an obvious starting place
when considering that all projects are temporary and activity based; that any activity can
potentially affect someone and in ways we may not initially expect. We then simply depicted
the space in a logical way, arranging terms associated with the word and iterating to
remove inconsistencies until there was no contradiction in the words used and the
depiction accommodated individual, government and commercial activities. The result is
shown in Figure 1.
Note that the particular activity may be a task, a project, a programme, an undertaking of
a corporation or government entity or even a particular instance of a persons behaviour.
Whose connection with the activity may be
Stakeholders
Whose level of involvement is
Committed
to the
activity
occurring
(with some
control)
Uncommitted
to the activity
occurring
(with potential
to influence)
Inclusion/participation
End user
(Tertiary)
Observer
(Secondary)
Contributor
serving the
activity
(Primary)
Invested
(financially
and/or
emotionally)
Handled by
Through roles including
Consultation/Risk Management
• Existing property owners/
occupants/users
• Impacted politicians
• Media
• Interest Groups (e.g. industry
peak bodies, community,
environmental, disability,
competitor, criminal/terrorist)
• Regulatory bodies
Customer(s) receiving the output e.g.
• Users of public facilities and services
• Buyers of commercial products and
services
• Initiating role or entity
• Sponsoring politician(s)
• Sponsor(s) (cash or kind)
• Customer(s) receiving the
outcome
• Entity controlling the deliverer
• Entity owning the output
• Financiers
• Delivery entity
• Contractors
• Suppliers/Distributors
External Focus
Figure 1.
Stakeholder locus
of interest
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In the latter case, not all of the roles come into play, but the diagram has been drawn to
accommodate stakeholder circumstances for the most complex activities, for otherwise,
the diagram would be incomplete.
The key to the diagram is the identification and separation of both the level of
involvement and the type of connection that various stakeholders may have. It shows two
levels of involvement (committed and uncommitted to the activity occurring) and then two
types of connection with the activity for each of these. Note that the terms primary and
secondary come from the literature while the depiction itself suggests the tertiary category,
which we have sub-labelled as such. The timescale is different for each level of connection;
the contributor or primary roles are affected immediately, observer or secondary roles may
be affected immediately or once the activity is completed and tertiary end users are
impacted by the completed activity (aside from any adverse impacts during activity
implementation, which are covered under existing users in the secondary category). Also a
particular person may find themselves in more than one role and others may transition
between roles over time, from top to bottom, e.g. from affected landholder or occupant or
contributor to user. So the diagram depicts roles rather than persons; it also covers an
extended timescale and relates only to a single activity or a single aggregation of activities.
We now propose definitions of the four categories of stakeholders shown in Figure 1,
based upon their connection to the subject activity. In doing so, we will also demonstrate
that these categories and their definitions accommodate the most common definitions given
by Miles (2012, p. 293), and those reported in Huemann et al. (2016, p. 25). Our proposed
category definitions are as follows:
An invested stakeholder is one who has some control of the activity.
This accommodates Clarkson (1994, p. 5) bear some form of risk as a result of
having invested some sort of capital, human or financial, something of value, in a firm.
A contributing (primary) stakeholder is one whose participation is required to sustain
the activity. This is based upon Clarkson (1995, p. 106) A primary stakeholder group
is one without whose continuing participation the corporation cannot survive as a
going concern. It also aligns with Stanford Research Institute (1963) those groups
without whose support the organization would cease to exist.
An observer (secondary) stakeholder is one whose acceptance or compliance is
required to sustain the activity. This is based upon Clarkson (1995, p. 107) secondary
stakeholder groups are defined as those who influence or affect, or are influenced or
affected by, the corporation, but they are not engaged in transactions with the
corporation and are not essential for its survival. [] however such groups can
cause significant damage to a corporation.Acceptance or compliancehas the
connotation of both influence and being affected by, does not mean agreement and
avoids the need to include reference to damage.
A tertiary stakeholder is one who uses the output of the activity.
In basing these definitions on previous literature, we have covered all the definitions listed
as popular by Miles (2012, p. 293) with the exception of one, whose definition was:
[] classes of stakeholders can be identified by their possession or attributed possession of one,
two, or all three of the following attributes: the stakeholders power to influence the firm, the
legitimacy of the stakeholders relationship with the firm, and the urgency of the stakeholders
claim on the firm Mitchell et al. (1997, p. 854).
This was more a classification than a definition, as the quotation actually states.
Our depiction is for definitional purposes and accommodates the power to influence as well
as legitimacy but does not accommodate urgency. Urgency may be important in
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determining the necessary speed of resolution of a stakeholder issue, but this is activity
dependant and has no bearing on which of the above four categories a particular
stakeholder happens to be in. The classification actually depicted in Mitchell et al. (1997,
p. 874) shows eight classifications, but these incorporate aspects of stakeholder
management, beyond simply defining and are not just restricted to the connection with
the activity as outlined in Figure 1. They were concerned with classifying both who and
what really counts, as stated in their publication title. Urgency does not relate to who;
it relates to what might need to be done and how quickly. We are concerned only with
defining who. Their classifications of dangerous, definitive, dependent and demanding
stakeholders all fit within our secondary stakeholder category and many of the roles shown
in Figure 1 can at times require urgent attention. They also acknowledged The theory of
stakeholder identification and salience developed in this article in no way discredits this
search for a legitimate normative core for stakeholder theory(Mitchell et al., 1997, p. 882).
So there is no conflict here, although we seek a non-normative core.
A similar issue arose in Clarkson (1995) who said:
I propose that corporate social performance can be analyzed and evaluated more effectively by
using a framework based on the management of a corporations relationships with its stakeholders
than by using models and methodologies based on concepts concerning corporate social
responsibilities and responsiveness (Clarkson, 1995, p. 92).
He develops a classification of management strategies that he refers to as a RDAP Scale,
meaning reactive, defensive, accommodative or proactive (Clarkson, 1995, p. 109). All of
these are ways of managing various categories of stakeholder and we have categorised on a
completely different basis, which is silent on and therefore accommodates any method of
management, none of which relates to definition of categories of stakeholders.
Some of the definitions in Miles (2012) were based upon Freemans (1984) definition:
Freemans (1984) affects and is affected bystakeholder definition is the most widely adopted of all
definitions within high quality management journals (Miles, 2011) with almost 20% of articles
(105/563 definitions identified) providing a definition of a stakeholder adopting one of the 1984
variants from Freemans seminal book (Miles, 2012, p. 295).
The full definition given by Freeman (1984) is any group or individual who can affect or is
affected by the achievement of the organizations objectives(p. 46). The stated restriction to
an organisation, and the unstated further restriction to one with a joint-stock company
structure (as detailed in the next section), both unnecessarily limit the ambit of the base term
and invite conclusions to be drawn that may not be generic to other circumstances. However
the key affects and is affected byelement is generic and can be applied to all four
categories defined above; it is just not as succinct as the definition derived above. If one has
an interest in an activity then one may be affected by it or seek to have an effect upon it.
This deals with all of the most populardefinitions listed in Miles (2012, p. 293) who also
mentions a further issue:
Sternberg (1997, p. 4) states: The widely used Freeman characterization of stakeholder []
transforms everyone into a stakeholder. It not only includes those who have a stake in the
organization as well as those in whom the organization has a stake, but it excludes all criteria of
materiality, immediacy and legitimacy. This is echoed by Phillips (1997, p. 63) one example that
has troubled some is the problem of whether terrorists are a stakeholder group. Although many of
our considered judgments lead us to say no, earlier versions of the theory would have to say yes
due to the fact that they can certainly affect the firm(Miles, 2012, pp. 293-294).
The definitions of stakeholder categories proposed above accommodates these views
without precluding the handling of supportive and antagonistic observer stakeholders in
completely different ways. The activity used for the depiction in Figure 1 is generic and so
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can apply to law enforcement, which does not have a joint-stock company organisational
structure. Law enforcement activities are directly affected by criminals and terrorists who
fall into the observer (secondary) category, and not into the invested category; it is
the community that receives the beneficial outcome of offenders being locked up, and it is
the victims of their activities that are the (unwilling) end users or output customers.
However if we consider one individual criminal act by a person, that person is invested and
will receive an outcome from it, the police and courts are observer stakeholders and the
victim is again the (unwilling) output customer, receiving the detrimental output in
whatever nefarious form it may take.
Finally, Miles also refers to a claimant definition for business ethics:
According to Kaler, three types of stakeholder definitions are prevalent within business ethics:
influencer definitions requiring only a capacity to influence the workings of the business,
claimant definitions requiring some sort of claim on the services of a businessand combinatory
definitions allowing for either or both of these requirements(Miles, 2012, p. 291).
Kaler (2002) further states:
It is argued that for the purposes of business ethics, stakeholding has to be about improving the
moral conduct of businesses by directing them at serving more than just the interests of owners.
On that basis, influencer definitions are eliminated on the grounds that they only concern morally
neutral strategic considerations and combinatory definitions on the grounds that the combining of
ethical and strategic considerations they promise can be less confusingly achieved through an
exclusively claimant definition. It is concluded that for the purposes of business ethics,
stakeholders are claimants towards whom businesses owe perfect or imperfect moral duties beyond
those generally owed to people at large (p. 91).
We adopt a strictly non-normative approach and have categorised in terms of connection
rather than influence, thereby avoiding the issues associated with power imbalance and
moral consequences. The moral duties owed by a business to claimants are covered under
primary, secondary and tertiary categories, which cover various aspects of liability.
We strive to avoid normativity in addressing any definitional question because of its
potential to distort, confuse and polarize.
To conclude this section of analysis, Miles (2011, p. 29) listed all the terms that had been
used in all 563 definitions and found there were 36. These included interest and 12 others
that we have considered above and excluded. The remaining 23 terms were reviewed and
none were suitable candidates for expressing the generic essence of the term. They related
to particular types of interest or to normative matters.
Huemann et al. (2016, p. 25) lists examples of stakeholder definitions in the literature.
Some of these have been mentioned above and there is a group of six definitions
mentioned, all of which are accommodated under the invested or contributing (primary)
categories. These are claimants who have contractsattributed to Cornell and Shapiro
(1987, p. 5), Have a stake in or claim on the firm(Evan and Freeman, 1988, pp. 75-76),
Groups in a relationship with an organisation(Thompson et al. 1991, p. 209),
Those who have or claim ownership, rights or interests in a corporation and its
activities(Clarkson, 1995, p. 106), Persons or groups with legitimate interests in
procedural and/ or substantive aspects of corporate activity(Donaldson and Preston,
1995, p. 67) and Persons or groups of persons [who] voluntarily accept the benefits of a
mutually beneficial scheme of cooperation requiring sacrifice or contribution on the part
of the participantsattributed to Phillips et al. (2003, p. 92). The one remaining definition
is Individuals or groups who are directly and/or indirectly involved in the selected scales
and beyond, and whose lives, environment, or business are affected by the three spatial
scales and beyond the adopted constructs. The scales referred to here are categories of
sustainable urban development ranging from global down to a building element.
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The individuals or groups referred to are accommodated in the observer (secondary) and
end user (tertiary) stakeholder categories.
This analysis therefore indicates that the proposed definition and categorisation
accommodates all the definitions drawn from Huemann et al. (2016, p. 25) as well as those
mentioned by Miles.
We will now address some further aspects of Figure 1. If it were not for previous usage of
Clarkson (1995), we could have considered just labelling primary stakeholders
as contributing stakeholders and the remaining two categories of observer and end user
as primary and secondary rather than secondary and tertiary. This could have been
justified in project management terms where stakeholder management is mainly concerned
with what we have here labelled as observer stakeholders and there are formal
organisational processes and prescribed roles for contributing or primary stakeholders.
However it could equally be argued that those financially and emotionally invested are
the primary stakeholders and should be labelled as such. However this would leave those
that project management is principally concerned with managing through stakeholder
management as tertiary stakeholders, with end users being quaternary stakeholders.
This would take us one step further away from the whole purpose of determining who the
observer stakeholders are. In any activity, it is usually relatively easy do identify who is
actually carrying out the activity whereas it may be quite difficult to determine who may
affect, or be affected by the activity, which is the whole purpose of the theory and so we
reject both these options and accept that the primary/secondary/tertiary classification as the
most practical. It reflects power to influence the initiators of the activity. It also addresses
the circumstance of managements not considering their staff and suppliers as stakeholders.
The alternative would be to drop any such attempted numbering referring only to two
categories within each of committed and uncommitted stakeholders and this is what we
propose, although we have shown both in the definitions and in the depiction in Figure 1
because of the labelling simplicity of the numbered alternative. This enables the proposed
nomenclature to not contradict or attempt to alter any existing usage or definition
(of primary and secondary) with the exception of the position of the customer and
government/regulatory bodies, which receives special consideration in the following section.
We also considered whether the observer or secondary category should be split but made
the deliberate decision not to as it requires normative considerations before being able to
categorise them, such as having to determine whether a particular stakeholder is for or
against, dangerous(Mitchell et al., 1997, p. 873), or a grumbler( Jepsen and Eskerod,
2009, p. 337). This is impractical as some impacted stakeholders may be either for or against,
depending upon their circumstances and their view of the potential financial
accommodation that may be made. This is confirmed by comments of the project
managers of the four sample projects in Jepsen and Eskerod (2009) who:
[] pointed out that it is not possible to make a detailed front end stakeholder analysis. They did
not have the cognitive capacity to consider all stakeholders in detail, nor did they find such a
detailed analysis worthwhile. Firstly, it is impossible to foresee interactions with stakeholders in
the distant future. Secondly, the contributions needed from each stakeholder may vary in different
stages in the course of the project and due to unforeseeable events in the project.
Further, the project managers spent quite a long time conducting the stakeholder analysis mainly
because they had difficulty in getting access to important stakeholders. In some cases, the result
was that they had to decide on and implement a stakeholder management strategy without having
the proper information to do so because the project needed to get in motion (p. 340).
There is one further issue that needs to be addressed regarding the definition of contributor
or primary stakeholder given above. While it has been based on Clarkson (1995), following
his definition he went on to say Primary stakeholder groups typically are comprised of
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shareholders and investors, employees, customers, and suppliers, together with what is
defined as the public stakeholder group(p. 106). However, Figure 1 excludes customers
from the contributor or primary category. This is a difference to previous practice that
requires special consideration which is given in the two following sections.
Stakeholder theory a company or an activity base?
The issue of the base for stakeholder theory arises because the base of the theory to date has
been the company whereas Figure 1 uses an activity base. Stakeholder theory has
concentrated upon the joint-stock company model. This is evidenced by Freemans original
depictions (Freeman, 1984, pp. 59, 121-122) which show the company at the centre of the
diagram. Fassin (2009) also includes similar depictions and even explicitly presents a
Stake model of the firmwhich has company management at the centre (pp. 115-24), and
also shows customers as internal rather than external stakeholders. While Freeman (1984)
was aware of its wider application, he said I shall concentrate on the applications of the
stakeholder concept to corporations, and in particular, for profit corporations(p. 28).
He also said 33 year later In stakeholder theory, we need more cases of real companies and
real stakeholders interacting with each other(Freeman, 2017).
However stakeholder theory is now being applied widely to are other entities,
organisational forms and fields, such as individuals, projects and government departments,
as well as in politics (Miles, 2011, p. 3). So while Freemans initial break from shareholder
theory allowed other interests to be accommodated, its development within the joint-stock
company environment carried the risk of using terminology generic to that field which may
not be applicable outside it, such as in projects and in government. To be truly generic, it
must be possible to represent stakeholder theory in a way that accommodates other forms of
entity and organisation. Using an activity basis achieves this.
There are a number of factors supporting use of an activity base:
(1) If a companys activities change, some of its stakeholders will change. This means
the activity is more fundamental than the company.
(2) Representing stakeholder theory in terms of a company-centric view of the world
invites an absolute answer for the question of who stakeholders might be, which is
unattainable and bound to fail as activities change.
(3) The whole imprecision of ignoring minor definitional issues and the niggling little
question regarding how this applies exactly to government or projects and whether
the translation is fully valid or not is avoided.
(4) It can be applied to activities that produce some result or output from the effort
expended but the output or result is not a product or service. Examples include a
parentsstake in their childrens behaviour or exercise or training, for example
which produces an output of a better functioning and or more skilled body which
may or may not have end users interested in the competitive result.
(5) There are niggling inconsistencies in the application to companies anyway because
of the inclusion of customers within both Clarksons primary and Fassins internal
stakeholder groups.
The following section addresses the last factor given above and highlights duality of
terminology in relation to use of the term customer.
What type of stakeholders are customers?
In Figure 1, the term customer is used in two different places; one where the person is
committed to the activity occurring, and one where the person is not. The former has a stake
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in the activity of producing a product or service and the latter has a stake simply in using or
consuming the product or service that the activity produces. Both are customers and from a
producing company perspective, both are of primary commercial importance and so could
be legitimately labelled as primary. However drawing Figure 1 from an activity perspective
facilitates recognising that there are two different roles here, requiring one at the top and
one at the bottom of the activity-based diagram; one sort of customer is an invested
stakeholder and the other is an end user or tertiary stakeholder. There are different roles
played by these two different types of customer and these have been shown in Figure 1 as
output and outcome customers. Depicting Figure 1 using an activity base highlighted this
issue and also highlighted potential confusion in terminology among invested stakeholders
regarding which one to label as the customer.
Support for identifying these various interests comes from Winch (2007, p. 323) in noting:
the interests of financiers, clients, and sponsors may be divergent. We will further
illustrate the need for identifying these through giving examples of complex activities the
authors have had experience with as follows:
(1) Government reform programmes or programmes to improve social welfare or some
aspect of indigenous life: these may be initiated from outside government or by
politicians or a government entity. Funding will come from government. The entity
receiving the outcome (outcome customer) is the person or group within government
who will have to administer or deal with the developed system and live with the
consequences if the measures introduced do not achieve the outcome desired.
This may be a different entity to that controlling the deliverer. The output customers
are those using the facility or service provided.
(2) Providing channel markers to a particular remote destination: this may be done for
a local initiating agitator, developer or politician, and the local community receives
the outcome of increased safety and marine traffic but it may be funded and most
likely owned (and therefore maintained) by the maritime authority with
jurisdiction of the area. So while the facility provided is actually used by local
residents and their suppliers who are the output customers, the entity providing
the money is not necessarily the customer of the (non-financial) outcome.
(3) Design and construction of the above channel markers: this is going down to a
more detailed activity level. In this case requirements will be set by the maritime
authority on the basis of end users or output customers being vessels of varying
sizes rather than people. The authority will either directly let the construction
contracts or will have functional requirements it can impose upon the local
authority or developer that may arrange the construction for it. Whoever lets the
contracts, the marine authority with jurisdiction over the area will be an outcome
customer irrespective of who pays.
(4) Parents buying a drum-set or violin on request from their child: the child plays the
initiating role and will be the end user (output customer). The parents will be the
sponsors in both cash and kind (practice space). They will also be the recipients of
the outcome; the initially dreadful noise and the satisfaction of seeing the personal
development of their child. The neighbours affected by the practice noise are
observer stakeholders who may exert an influence.
(5) Purchase or use of a product or service that generates dependence: uncommitted
(output) customers may become dependent and subsequently committed to the
ongoing (and different) activity of continued production of the product, but this will
still only mean they will then fit into two categories; observer as well as end user,
for that later activity.
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Again, it is important to remember that the right-hand side of Figure 1 details roles and not
individuals. Individuals may play multiple roles. In some of the above examples, the person
or entity funding the activity is not the outcome customer. Similarly, a well-intentioned
group with influence can impose impractical arrangements on other areas of government
through government not realising the need for this internal governance distinction between
who pays and who is lumbered with the outcome. The conclusion from this is that a truly
generic stakeholder governance model cannot be based on financial arrangements,
even though it must, of course, accommodate them.
We will now give our reasoning for choosing the customer labelling shown in Figure 1.
Customer labelling
First we have used the term customer rather than client as a client generally pays (Winch,
2007, pp. 321-2) whereas a customer may or may not. The latter can occur in government.
The resolution for labelling customers that did not lead to contradiction was to separate the
output from the outcome. Two other options were considered and rejected. Distinguishing
between contracted and un-contracted does not accommodate the circumstance where the
person receiving the outcome has no money or authority to undertake the activity and so there
is no contract, except possibly for some vague social contract. It also does not accommodate
the circumstance where organisational authority or rank prevails and the activity gets its
authority from some accepted organisational practice for which there is either no contract or
some general clause in an employment contract. This approach would lead in some vague
direction to further hair-splitting, getting further from the genericity were are seeking.
The other option considered was to distinguish between internal and external (relative to
producing the activity). This avoids these contractual difficulties but still does not
accommodate the circumstance that can occur within government where the person or group
receiving the outcome has no money or authority to undertake the activity and may be
external to it. So both these options lead to other unnecessary debates and were rejected in
favour of demarcation in terms of output and outcome.
Reliance on the joint-stock company model also presumes there will be a monetary price for
the product or service. This leads to the conclusion that a customer is always one who pays.
As mentioned above, this is not necessarily the case for government. Government has many
people using its services, both willingly and unwillingly and many of these do not make a
monetary payment for the service and some, in fact, receive money. These are all (output)
customers of government; There is some sort of service provided to the public, so what else can
the people who use those services be called that might be non-normative? Consequently any
definition of a customer that requires there to be a monetary payment is inappropriate for
government. Government services provide some sort of value to somebody and so there is
some sort of value exchange; one that is more complex than the simple exchange of a product
for monetary consideration. So it would be preferable to make the concept generic by defining a
customer in terms of the value exchange rather than restricting it to a user of a product or
service who happens to pay for it. This can be done quite simply by describing a conventional
(output) customer as one who receives the product or service.
Customer terminology
The above discussion leads us to develop customer terminology that accommodates both
government and the joint-stock company model as follows:
a customer is one who receives some value from an activity;
an output customer is one who receives the output of an activity; and
an outcome customer is one who receives the outcome of an activity.
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The joint-stock company customer who pays for the product or service that the activity
produces is simply a sub-set of the term which we have qualified as an output customer,
namely one who pays, or a paying customer. These definitions also accommodate
government usage, in which it is possible that either category of customer may not pay.
It allows government to effectively use the theory that developed within the private sector
environment without becoming confused by the different organisational structure or
appearing disingenuous when labelling those hostages to it as customers.
We will consider the application of the definitions and model to two further and quite
different complex activities with which the authors are familiar to check its veracity:
(1) Operating a driver licencing system: potential young drivers desiring a licence are
the output customers of the activity, but they are also captive to the system for
which the government has a monopoly. The rest of us are the outcome customers,
invested in driving on the roads, who may receive whatever safety and insurance
premium outcomes that may result. So the value that learner drivers get from
being captive to such a system is their own safety. In this case, the output
customer also pays for the piece of paper or card they receive. Of course the
circumstance can occur where a private company effectively has a similar
monopoly over a particular product or service, in which case its customers are
effectively captive. So whether the customer is captive or not makes no difference
to the fact that they are a customer.
(2) A fraudster appearing to offer a service to customers and those customers being
taken in: there is still a value exchange here; the value to the customer becomes
negative as the flow of money goes in a direction opposite to their intentions.
It makes little sense to refer to a positive or negative customer. However it does
make sense to refer to the value they receive as positive, zero or negative. The fact
that they received negative value does not mean they are not a customer. They just
happened to end up with an additional descriptor of victim. There has still been a
value exchange.
Given that the examples above have not invalidated Figure 1, and that it accommodates
circumstances that current stakeholder theory does not, we propose this figure as an
alternative representation of stakeholder theory. As John Stuart Mill said:
It would, however, be a complete misunderstanding [] to think that because a name has not at
present an ascertained connotation, it is competent to anyone to give it such a connotation at his
own choice. The meaning of a term actually in use is not an arbitrary quantity to be fixed, but an
unknown quantity to be sought []. To fix the connotation of a concrete name, or the denotation of
the corresponding abstract, is to define the name. When this can be done without rendering any
received assertions inadmissible, the name can be defined in accordance with its received use
(Mill, 1874, pp. 469,70).
Findings
Considering output customers as primary stakeholders has mixed the (joint-stock company
model) content with the definitional process resulting in potential confusion in application to
other entities and organisational forms. Previous stakeholder theory had introduced
assumptions and terminology generic within the confines of the joint-stock company model
but not outside it. This highlights the importance of separating process from content.
This analysis has produced further role definitions that clarify relationships and assist in
freeing stakeholder theory from its capture by the joint-stock company model and these are
presented in summary with the category definitions below.
We therefore propose Figure 1 and the associated four category and two customer role
definitions as our response to RQ2.
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Summary of consequent category and role definitions
An invested stakeholder is one who has some control of the activity.
A contributing ( ¼primary) stakeholder is one whose participation is required to
sustain the activity.
An observer ( ¼secondary) stakeholder is one whose acceptance or compliance is
required to sustain the activity.
An end user ( ¼tertiary stakeholder) is one who uses the output of the activity.
A customer is one who receives some value from an activity.
An output customer is one who receives the output of an activity.
An outcome customer is one who receives the outcome of an activity.
Observations on the refining method and its application
On the method
Analysis of the method indicated that in Step 10 the word adoptedshould be derived.
This change corrects what appears to have been a typographical error in the source paper,
in which all applications of the method used the word derived.
Definitional Step 2 of the method indicates lexical usage can be omitted if there is a
known, comprehensive academic review of definitions of the term. Such reviews existed for
stakeholders. Lexical usage was nevertheless analysed with the surprising result that the
debate within the academic community about types of stakeholders produced no reason to
alter the definitions derived from lexical usage. It was therefore necessary to do the lexical
analysis anyway. The academic definitions had focussed on a particular extension, resulting
in unwarranted exclusions. The omission allowed in Step 2 of the adopted method should
therefore have an additional qualification that has produced a definition by intension, not
specific to any extension.
On the application of the method
Following the chosen method has enabled clear non-normative, refined definition of the
English language word stakeholder.
The definition derived from lexical analysis was unchanged by the academic analysis.
Implications
The definition of stakeholder and the categories and roles contained in Figure 1 remove
confusion and inconsistency without invalidating any prior usage of the term stakeholder.
The process simply highlighted that no previous usage was sufficient for generic use and
that sufficiency in future usage can be achieved by:
(1) adding the missing qualifying words, namely the category (one of the above
four invested, contributor, observer or end user);
(2) specifying the field or area to which the particular labels or findings apply (such as
project management, corporate management, accounting, psychology, law
enforcement, etc.); and
(3) specifying whether the customer is for the output or the outcome of the activity.
So, for example, within project management, we may state that when we abbreviate and use
the term stakeholder, we really mean observer or secondary stakeholder. We may also then
refer to tertiary stakeholders not as stakeholders but as end users and accommodate
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invested and primary stakeholders in our normal organisational and governance roles.
This excludes them from the external focus that project stakeholder management generally
assumes and focusses stakeholder management in the area within project management
where its power lies and its impact is greatest. Asset and strategic management
considerations normally address the needs of the end user and the focus during a project is
to locate and deal with the observer stakeholders. General acceptance of this could
potentially remove confusion in usage of the term within the project management field,
requiring minimal change of existing usage.
Figure 1 will however have some implications for project governance arrangements,
methodologies and models that do not separate the various invested stakeholder roles for
the particular activities being undertaken. For many projects, the (outcome) customer,
sponsor, owner and entity controlling the deliverer are the same person or organisation.
However where different people or organisations hold these roles, their differentiation in
governance arrangements can enable the differing interests of these roles to be
actively accommodated.
A further implication is that analysing stakeholders as an essentially contested concept
(Miles, 2012) lead to a dead end that did not produce clarity in the same way that the
definitional refining and mapping process used above has. If the above definitions and
depiction are accepted, then there is actually no competition between different meanings of
the base stakeholder term and its supposed essential contestability is removed.
The definitional competition has simply arisen from various categorisations. Usage of the
depiction in Figure 1 can facilitate researchers and practitioners in locating where their
particular field of interest lies and qualifying their usage of the term accordingly, rather
than competing for exclusive usage of the generic term.
It is also worth noting that the refined definitions and consequent category and role
definitions easily accommodate current trends in stakeholder management thinking;
they contain no comment on techniques of stakeholder management and are simply
restricted to definition.
Conclusions
Application of the McGrath and Whitty (2015) definitional refining method has produced
refined definition of the terms stake and stakeholder as an interest in relation to an activity.
Use of this method provided a means of avoiding all extensions of meaning resulting from
defining particular types of stakeholders and/or their degrees of impact; direct or indirect,
primary or secondary, legitimate or derivative and so on. This highlighted the veracity of
defining by intension rather than by extension and enabled RQ1 to be addressed with the
key essential definitional elements being interest and activity.
Mapping the stakeholder conceptual space and categorising it in Figure 1 based upon
these definitions provided a response to RQ2. It uncovered several issues in current usage
and enabled resolutions to be proposed. It first uncovered the dependency of stakeholder
theory on the joint-stock company model and provided a means to break from that
restriction. It then also identified dual usage of the term customer, which its categorisation
was again able to resolve.
The stakeholder categories developed were labelled as invested, contributor, observer
and end user stakeholders. The dual customer roles were labelled as output and outcome,
relating them to value exchange and releasing them from dependence upon there being a
financial consideration for the product or service. This facilitates usage by projects and
government organisations which are not structured as joint-stock companies. It also
highlights the need for articulating any silent or assumed qualifiers, to avoid difficulties
when applying terms in areas where they did not originate.
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Figure 1 can provide clear visual assistance to researchers and practitioners in locating
their endeavours within the stakeholder locus of interest. The specification of area and
category ensures that the many fields stakeholder theory is now being applied to can
continue with their field-specific usage of the term, provided its location within the
stakeholder locus of interest is identified. This avoids compromising other usages or further
competing for exclusive use of the term. Through having an activity rather than a company
base, Figure 1 provides a means of accommodating the governance complexities of
government organisations and projects into stakeholder theory, rather than being an
incidental and sometimes inappropriate add-on.
Another feature of the definitional method used in this paper is its differentiation
between the definitional process and the content that the definitions are applied to,
facilitated through its non-normative approach to determining the core essence of its
meaning. This enabled the intrusion of joint-stock company model content into
the stakeholder definitional process to be identified and corrected. It further highlighted
the need to avoid allowing non-generic content to intrude on generic process.
Adoption and use of the definitions developed in this paper can provide clarity of
meaning, avert development of field specific and differing private languageand contribute
to avoiding confusion and misunderstanding. This can benefit the community in general
and practitioners and researchers in particular, saving time, resources and money.
Successful application of the definitional refining method here removes stakeholder from
the list of essentially contested concepts and indicates its potential suitability for application
to other contested terms.
This application of the McGrath and Whitty (2015) method also found three minor
changes required as follows:
(1) Step 2 should have an additional qualification at the end stating that has produced
a definition by intension, not specific to any extension.
(2) Step 3 to have an additional qualification at the end stating (and show these and
subsequent refined and other contributing definitions in pale grey highlight).
(3) Step 10 of the method should read Report the derived definition.
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Appendix
Dictionary Definition of stake (all sourced on 28 May 2017)
BusinessDictionary The amount of a security either owned (a long position) or owed
(a short position) by an investor or dealer. Also called position
Cambridge A share or financial involvement in something such as a business
The amount of money you risk on the result of something such as a
game or competition
Collins English Dictionary If you have a stake in something such as a business, it matters to
you, for example because you own part of it or because its success or
failure will affect you
Concise Oxford Dictionary Money, etc., wagered on an event, esp. deposited with a third party
(stakeholder) by each of those who make a wager
Money to be contended for
Be materially concerned in its welfare
Dictionary.com 1. A stick or post pointed at one end for driving into the ground as a
boundary mark, part of a fence, support for a plant, etc.
2. A post to which a person is bound for execution, usually by
burning
3. The stake, the punishment of death by burning
4. One of a number of vertical posts fitting into sockets or staples
on the edge of the platform of a truck or other vehicle, as to retain
the load
Longman Dictionary of
Contemporary English
If you have a stake in a business, you have invested money in it
Money that you risk as the result of a horse race, card game, etc.
Macmillan Dictionary 1. The part of a business that you own because you have invested
money in it
2. The degree to which you are involved in something and want it to
succeed
3. An amount of money that you risk losing when you try to guess
the result of a race or competition
4. The things you can gain or lose by taking a risk, for example in
business or politics
Macquarie Dictionary 1. A stick or post pointed at one end for driving into the ground as a
boundary mark, a part of a fence, a support for a plant, etc.
2. A post, especially one to which a person is bound for execution,
usually by burning
3. One of a number of vertical posts fitting into sockets or
staples on the edge of the platform of a vehicle, as to retain
the load
4. Mormonism an administrative unit equivalent to a diocese verb (t)
(staked, staking)
5. Also, stake off, stake out to mark with stakes
6. Also, stake out to possess, lay claim to or reserve a share of
(land, profit, etc.): to stake a claim
7. To protect, separate or close off by a barrier of stakes
8. To support with a stake or stakes, as a plant
9. To tether or secure to a stake, as an animal
10. To fasten with a stake or stakes phrase
11. Pull up stakes, Colloquial to leave ones job, home, etc., and move
away
12. Stake out, to surround (a building, etc.) for the purposes of a raid,
a siege, or keeping watch
13. The stake, the punishment of death by burning.
(continued )
Table AI.
Definitions of stake
(apart from a (pointed)
stick or post)
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Dictionary Definition of stake (all sourced on 28 May 2017)
Merriam-Webster 1. A pointed piece of wood or other material driven or to be driven
into the ground as a marker or support
2a. A post to which a person is bound for execution by burning
b. Execution by burning at a stake
3a. Something that is staked for gain or loss
b. The prize in a contest
c. an interest or share in an undertaking or enterprise
4. A Mormon territorial jurisdiction comprising a group of wards
Oxford Dictionaries 1. A strong wooden or metal post with a point at one end, driven into
the ground to support a plant, form part of a fence, mark a
boundary, etc.
1.1. The stake historical a wooden post to which a person was tied
before being burned alive as a punishment
1.2. A long vertical rod used in basket-making
2. A metalworkers small anvil, typically with a projection for fitting
into a socket
on a bench
3. A territorial division of the Mormon Church under the jurisdiction
of a president
TheFreeDictionary 1. A piece of wood or metal pointed at one end for driving into the
ground as a marker, fence pole, or tent peg
2a. A vertical post to which an offender is bound for execution by
burning
b. Execution by burning. Used with the: condemned to the stake
3. A vertical post secured in a socket at the edge of a platform, as on
a truck bed,
to help retain the load
4. Mormon Church a territorial division consisting of a group of
wards under the jurisdiction of a president
5. Sports and Games
a. Often stakes money or property risked in a wager or gambling
game
b. The prize awarded the winner of a contest or race
c. A race offering a prize to the winner, especially a horse race in
which the prize consists of money contributed equally by the horse
owners
6a. A share or an interest in an enterprise, especially a financial
share
b. Personal interest or involvement: a stake in her childrens future
7. Something, such as a crucial change or grave consequence that
may result from a situation: the stakes are high in the mayoral
election
8. A grubstake
Wiktionary A share or interest in a business or a given situation
That which is laid down as a wager; that which is staked or
hazarded; a pledge
Table AI.
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About the authors
Stephen Keith McGrath is undertaking a PhD at the University of Southern Queensland. His research
interest is in the cross-discipline impacts of genericproject, programme and portfolio management
methodology and terminology, particularly between the civil infrastructure and ICT areas, with a focus
on governance. He is a Civil Engineer, Fellow of the Institution of Engineers, Australia and an AIPM
Certified Practicing Project Director, with 40 years of experience in developing, planning and
delivering civil infrastructure projects as well as strategy and business development projects in the
roads, busways, rail, marine and aviation areas. He also led the team that developed the Queensland
Department of Transport and Main Roads OnQproject management system that has now been used
Dictionary Definition of stakeholder (all sourced on 28 May 2017)
BusinessDictionary Any party that has an interest (stake) in a firm
Cambridge A person or group of people who own a share in a business
A person such as an employee, customer, or citizen who is involved with an
organisation, society, etc. and therefore has responsibilities towards it and an interest
in its success
Collins English
Dictionary
1. A person or group owning a significant percentage of a companys shares
2. A person or group not owning shares in an enterprise but affected by or having an
interest in its operations, such as the employees, customers, local community, etc.
Concise Oxford
Dictionary
Not listed separately but mentioned in the definition of stake as the third party with
whom money wagered on an event is staked
Dictionary.com 1. The holder of the stakes of a wager
2. A person or group that has an investment, share, or interest in something, as a
business or industry
3. Law a person holding money or property to which two or more persons make
rival claims
Longman Dictionary
of Contemporary
English
1. Someone who has invested money into something, or who has some important
connection with it, and therefore is affected by its success or failure
2. Law someone, usually a lawyer, who takes charge of a property during a quarrel
or a sale
3 Someone chosen to hold the money that is risked by people on a race, competition,
etc. and to give all of it to the winner
Macmillan Dictionary A person or company that has invested in a business and owns part of it
a. Someone who has an interest in the success of a plan, system, or organisation, for
example a worker in a company or the parent of a child at a school
Macquarie Dictionary 1. The holder of the stakes of a wager, etc.
2. Someone who has a pecuniary interest in an enterprise, having contributed
funds to it
3. Someone who is affected by, is concerned with, etc., an issue or enterprise
Merriam-Webster 1. A person entrusted with the stakes of bettors
2. One that has a stake in an enterprise
3. One who is involved in or affected by a course of action
Oxford Dictionaries 1. (In gambling) an independent party with whom each of those who make a wager
deposits the money or counters wagered
2. A person with an interest or concern in something, especially a business
TheFreeDictionary 1. One who has a share or an interest, as in an enterprise
2. One who holds the bets in a game or contest
Wiktionary 1. A person holding the stakes of bettors, with the responsibility of delivering the pot
to the winner of the bet
2. An escrow agent or custodian
3. (law) A person filing an interpleader action, such as a garnishee or trustee, who
acknowledges possession of property that is owed to one or more of several
other claimants
4. A person or organisation with a legitimate interest in a given situation, action
or enterprise
Table AII.
Definitions of
stakeholder
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in delivering more than $20B of civil infrastructure and business development/ICT projects. Stephen
Keith McGrath is the corresponding author and can be contacted at: kasmac99@yahoo.com.au
Dr Stephen Jonathan Whitty is an Associate Professor of Project Management at the University of
Southern Queensland, Australia. His role includes leading project management research, and directing
postgraduate project management teaching programmes for which he has been recognised nationally
for his contributions to developing postgraduate learning outcomes. His unique evolutionary approach
to project management research considers all matters pertaining to projects and project management
and examines them against the framework of evolution by natural, social, cultural and memetic
section. He also contributes to the literature on complexity in project management. Jon regularly
reviews research articles for academic journals. He has been invited to participate in international
academic visiting programmes, and to present papers and workshops at international project
management conferences.
For instructions on how to order reprints of this article, please visit our website:
www.emeraldgrouppublishing.com/licensing/reprints.htm
Or contact us for further details: permissions@emeraldinsight.com
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... Benlemlih and Bitar (2018) described some central stakeholders as having nonhuman qualities such as the natural environment. Wang (2017) (Benlemlih & Bitar, 2018;McGrath & Whitty, 2017;Miles, 2017;Nason, Bacq, & Gras, 2018;Wu & Wokutch, 2015). Some scholars identify stakeholders using primary and secondary groups. ...
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... Benlemlih and Bitar (2018) described some central stakeholders as having nonhuman qualities such as the natural environment. Wang (2017) (Benlemlih & Bitar, 2018;McGrath & Whitty, 2017;Miles, 2017;Nason, Bacq, & Gras, 2018;Wu & Wokutch, 2015). Some scholars identify stakeholders using primary and secondary groups. ...
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Purpose Scholars are increasingly acknowledging the importance of conversations in the management of complex projects. Defining dialectics as “the art of purposeful conversation”, this paper aims to rationalise the somewhat disorganised field of dialectics by developing a categoreal scheme. Design/methodology/approach The authors refer to the current state of research into the conversational aspects of complex projects, and examine the historical development of, and philosophical and scholarly commentary on, the dialectical method. Findings The categories the authors propose are the Socratic, Conversational, Fichtean and Peircean. They differ in relation to the subject matter of the dialectic; their vulnerability to environmental influences; the degree of structure they require for optimal performance; and the situations in which they might most profitably be applied. Research limitations/implications A single categoreal scheme is rarely the last word, and the authors invite other scholars to explore the field in a similar way. Practical implications The scheme proposed here is intended to enhance the project manager's approach to conversations, by referring to the specific virtues and limitations of each of the categories. Social implications The informed use of dialectics may help to ameliorate the significant damage done to organisations and economies around the world by failed and underperforming projects. Originality/value The authors present the first categorisation of the field, with the aim of equipping the practitioner to think about dialectical approaches in a more systematic way.
Chapter
This chapter summarises McGrath and Whitty (2017) and paraphrases and/or reproduces selected portions of it. The aim of that paper was to remove definitional confusion surrounding use of the term stakeholder from the general and project management arenas.
Article
Despite emphasizing the great importance of stakeholder management, there is a gap in applying a decision support system to adopt sustainable strategies for stakeholder engagement and conflict resolution especially in oil and gas projects. This paper presents a new framework for adopting the strategies in one of the largest oil and gas projects in Iran. In this proposed framework, firstly, the hybrid SWOT analysis and fuzzy Delphi method are used to identify and rank the sustainable stakeholder engagement strategies for managing conflicts. Then, a mathematical programming model was proposed to select the optimal strategies to maximize stakeholder engagement. The findings indicate that the results of the hybrid SWOT analysis and fuzzy Delphi method and the mathematical programming model are the same and the high ranked strategies obtained by the hybrid SWOT analysis and fuzzy Delphi method are selected in the proposed mathematical programming model as well. Also, each selected strategy can cover more than one conflict and improve stakeholder engagement.
Chapter
Stakeholder engagement is well established as a critical success factor in Business Process Management (BPM) projects. Yet, guidelines to identify the relevant stakeholder groups and their specific activity is lacking. This study addresses this gap through a typological framework of stakeholder groups in process improvement (PI) projects. The framework is developed inductively from an in-depth case study and contextualized through a synthesis of literature from two different areas; process management and stakeholder research. The resulting framework offers a comprehensive matrix of six diverse stakeholder groups based on their affiliation to a BPM project and their role in the process. The framework differentiates between internal and external stakeholders and identifies three categories of each, namely; those impacted by; a catalyst for; and/or a facilitator of; the process improvement efforts. The framework recognizes the fundamental differences between BPM stakeholders with insight into the origin of those differences and provides a basis for planning and executing engagement activities with different stakeholder groups.
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Purpose To determine if there is confusion in governance terminology amongst experienced management and project management practitioners. Design/methodology/approach Practitioner interviews and subsequent analysis. Findings Significant differences in governance terminology were found. The participants had nevertheless arrived at similar operating arrangements for their committees, even though they came from different segments of different industries and did not agree on the definition of governance. It was possible to develop a list of working parameters for operation of these committees from their responses. The labelling of committees associated with governance as steering or decision-making was found to be problematic and various causes/motivations for the differing definitions of governance having arisen were detected. These ranged from altruism, through dogmatic belief in particular frameworks, to enhancing career prospects/ego. Research limitations/implications The sample came from organisations and industries in one state in one country. The need for review of governance terminology used in various project management practitioner reference documents and methodologies was identified. Practical implications Projects and business alike can potentially achieve improvements in efficiency and effectiveness through consistency of terminology and the clarity this brings to governance arrangements and committee operations. Social implications Creation of a unifying feature within the project and management literature, shifting the understanding of governance and its boundaries and limitations. This will help progress governance from complexity to simplicity, from an art to an understandable practice, from a concept that has been hijacked for partisan and political gain to a lean social tool which can be put to use for the benefit of organisations, whether public, charitable or private. Originality/value The value is clarity – resulting in the avoidance of confusion and misunderstanding together with their consequent waste of time, resources and money.
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The social participation of human beings and the term used for participants have changed through time. First, it was civil society, later citizenship, and currently social actor. Each concept has implied larger involvements, as rational and reflexive beings, in environmental issues. Today, social actors have become key figures for the governance of ecological systems. In this chapter we discuss the social actor concept and its relationship with environmental governance.
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The chapter reports on the case study project of the Engineering, Procurement, and Construction (EPC) of a wind park farm in Brazil from the supplier perspective of Siemens Ltd. In the case study, researchers, together with practitioners, further developed project stakeholder analysis by explicitly integrating Sustainable Development (SD) principles. The chapter offers an operative approach and describes the working form systemic board to better handle the increasing dynamics and complexity in contemporary projects and contexts. For project stakeholder management, the consideration of SD principles means in particular: applying a more comprehensive stakeholder management approach with underpinning values that support sustainable development; integrating economic, ecologic, and social interests of project stakeholders into the project objectives to create shared benefit for the project investor and other project stakeholders; broadening the time perspective to consider not only current stakeholders but also future stakeholders of the investment initialized by the project; broadening the spatial perspective to consider local, regional as well as global impacts of the project for stakeholders; using systemic working forms to allow for making the dynamics and complexities of the project and the project contexts better visible to the project manager, the project team, and the project owner; taking consequences in the project organization which lead to more integrative project organization structures to support cooperation on a project and with its stakeholders.
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In this special issue on project stakeholder management, the aim is to advance the understanding of this topic by looking into theory outside the project management field and by presenting findings from case studies. In this overview article, we identify the theoretical roots of the stakeholder concept and the current state of the field. We point to early proponents of stakeholder thinking. In addition, we point to recent concepts and developments outside the project management field that are relevant in the project management context; then, we introduce the articles included in the special issue; and, finally, we identify other relevant publications.
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Modern studies of Aristotle's logical works have been deeply informed by modern logical theory. Beginning with Lukasiewicz and Scholz, historians of logic have used the methods of symbolic logic to interpret Aristotle's logical theories, and with rich results. George Grote's picture of Aristotle's logic, and indeed his picture of logic itself, is heavily influenced by a separate issue going back at least to Francis Bacon. From a modern perspective, Aristotle's most significant achievement as a logician is his theory of valid inference, usually known today as the syllogistic . Grote proceeds largely by way of paraphrase, in the tradition of ancient commentators like Sophonias. Although Grote does not pretend to be offering an edition of Aristotle's logical works, he is thoroughly familiar with ancient and modern commentators and sometimes engages with them on philological points. Keywords: Aristotle's logic; Francis Bacon; George Grote; Sophonias
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In this special issue on project stakeholder management, the aim is to advance the understanding of this topic by looking into theory outside the project management field and by presenting findings from case studies. In this overview article, we identify the theoretical roots of the stakeholder concept and the current state of the field. We point to early proponents of stakeholder thinking. In addition, we point to recent concepts and developments outside the project management field that are relevant in the project management context; then, we introduce the articles included in the special issue; and, finally, we identify other relevant publications .
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Strategic Management: A Stakeholder Approach was first published in 1984 as a part of the Pitman series in Business and Public Policy. Its publication proved to be a landmark moment in the development of stakeholder theory. Widely acknowledged as a world leader in business ethics and strategic management, R. Edward Freeman’s foundational work continues to inspire scholars and students concerned with a more practical view of how business and capitalism actually work. Business can be understood as a system of how we create value for stakeholders. This worldview connects business and capitalism with ethics once and for all. On the 25th anniversary of publication, Cambridge University Press are delighted to be able to offer a new print-on-demand edition of his work to a new generation of readers.