Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to increase our understanding of how stakeholder relationships develop and how projects can develop the knowledge, skills, and aptitudes required to handle a multitude of stakeholder relationships. The objective is to provide in‐depth descriptions of what makes up these relationship competencies. Design/methodology/approach – A longitudinal study was made of a complex technology project. The project was followed for a year and a half. The data material includes more than 20 in‐depth interviews with key actors of the project context and more than 300 hours of participant observations. Findings – The results show that project competencies in stakeholder management are emergent phenomena which develop through trial and error, and how they, over time, appear as cultivated and fine‐tuned capabilities of communicating. This communication involves narrating, differentiated, yet carefully balanced stories. Little by little, the project's interaction patterns become fine‐tuned and sensitive, with regard to the content and framing, not the least of which is the timing of messages. Research limitations/implications – Further research is suggested on the development and characteristics of relationship competencies in a project context. Especially, the extent it includes narration and also the characteristics of this narration; how and when is it used and what are the effects. Practical implications – Project teams should be aware of how they can use stories strategically to deal with a multitude of stakeholder relationships. Originality/value – Studies on project behavior have been called for. The orginality in this paper lies in the fine‐grained in‐depth descriptions of how a project actually copes with a multitude of stakeholders.
International Journal of Managing Projects in Business – Emerald Publishing
Published: Apr 5, 2011
Keywords: Project management; Competences; Stakeholder analysis; Narratives