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Is it for donors or locals? The relationship between stakeholder interests and demonstrating results in international development

Is it for donors or locals? The relationship between stakeholder interests and demonstrating... Purpose– Many development interventions fail to report results that are important to local people (intended beneficiaries of the intervention) but not of strategic importance to the donors funding the work. Failure to report unexpected results, or those not linked to strategic goals, contributes to an overly negative view from external evaluations by donors and agencies. The causes of the mismatch between actual and demonstrated results failure were studied through stakeholder interests. The paper aims to discuss these issues. Design/methodology/approach– Nine project and programme managers of similar but unrelated projects were interviewed. From the interviews, previous studies and project publications, the challenges posed by differing interests and different perceptions in reporting stakeholder activities, outputs and outcomes, were identified. The complex environment of many development interventions was analysed and the work was contextualised with a peacebuilding project in Sri Lanka, which the author has previously studied. A stakeholder role and perception analysis was used to map the challenges at four times in the project cycle, producing a dynamic stakeholder analysis. Findings– The failure to fully report intervention results was linked to the changing role of competing stakeholder interests as a project proceeds, the conflicting perceptions of stakeholders, the structural over-simplification of a complex environment and power differentials that allow donors to misappropriate the role of clients. Practical implications– Current practice in designing and evaluating projects needs to improve reporting of beneficiary interests. Originality/value– To the author’s knowledge there are no prior publications in this area of research (under-reporting of development intervention results); the paper is considered highly original. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png International Journal of Managing Projects in Business Emerald Publishing

Is it for donors or locals? The relationship between stakeholder interests and demonstrating results in international development

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Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
Copyright © Emerald Group Publishing Limited
ISSN
1753-8378
DOI
10.1108/IJMPB-09-2015-0091
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Purpose– Many development interventions fail to report results that are important to local people (intended beneficiaries of the intervention) but not of strategic importance to the donors funding the work. Failure to report unexpected results, or those not linked to strategic goals, contributes to an overly negative view from external evaluations by donors and agencies. The causes of the mismatch between actual and demonstrated results failure were studied through stakeholder interests. The paper aims to discuss these issues. Design/methodology/approach– Nine project and programme managers of similar but unrelated projects were interviewed. From the interviews, previous studies and project publications, the challenges posed by differing interests and different perceptions in reporting stakeholder activities, outputs and outcomes, were identified. The complex environment of many development interventions was analysed and the work was contextualised with a peacebuilding project in Sri Lanka, which the author has previously studied. A stakeholder role and perception analysis was used to map the challenges at four times in the project cycle, producing a dynamic stakeholder analysis. Findings– The failure to fully report intervention results was linked to the changing role of competing stakeholder interests as a project proceeds, the conflicting perceptions of stakeholders, the structural over-simplification of a complex environment and power differentials that allow donors to misappropriate the role of clients. Practical implications– Current practice in designing and evaluating projects needs to improve reporting of beneficiary interests. Originality/value– To the author’s knowledge there are no prior publications in this area of research (under-reporting of development intervention results); the paper is considered highly original.

Journal

International Journal of Managing Projects in BusinessEmerald Publishing

Published: Jun 6, 2016

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