Obstacles and challenges in applying stakeholder analysis to infrastructure projects. Is there a gap between stakeholder theory and practice?

Published date30 October 2019
Date30 October 2019
Subject MatterProperty management & built environment,Real estate & property,Property valuation & finance
AuthorAnna Wojewnik-Filipkowska,Anna Dziadkiewicz,Wioleta Dryl,Tomasz Dryl,Robert Bęben
Obstacles and challenges in
applying stakeholder analysis to
infrastructure projects
Is there a gap between stakeholder
theory and practice?
Anna Wojewnik-Filipkowska
Department of Investment and Real Estate,
University of Gda
nsk, Sopot, Poland, and
Anna Dziadkiewicz, Wioleta Dryl, Tomasz Dryl and Robert Be
Department of Marketing, University of Gda
nsk, Sopot, Poland
Purpose Public involvement is essential in the creation of effective local strategies for the development of a
sustainable built environment, yet there has been little research on stakeholder motivation and engagement in
the creation of infrastructure-project value, in the entire life cycle of a given project, while different markets
show that overlooking stakeholders can negatively affect the success of an infrastructure project. The purpose
of this paper is to fill the theory-practice gap that has been discerned, and thus study how early public
involvement determines the success of an infrastructure project, which is identified with its value creation
(effectiveness, sustainability and utility).
Design/methodology/approach This research entails a combination of methods. A case study analysis
allowed observation of the role the stakeholders play and of how the relationships, perspectives, expectations
and risks, along with other soft issues, continue to affect projects. The case study required comprehensive
examination of project documentation and conduction of interviews. To collect data, focused group interviews
and semi-structured interviews were used, supported with direct questionnaire surveys.
Findings The study provides evidence that early public engagement can contribute to infrastructure-project
value (effectiveness, sustainability and utility). Practically speaking, the stakeholder analysis performed
allowed proposal of a general stakeholder analysis framework for infrastructure projects. It can be
implemented at each investment phase of the project life cycle, since stakeholders and their motivation may
develop and/or change over time, which necessitates development of proper managerial strategies. The
findings highlight the opportunities and the challenges faced by stakeholder management.
Research limitations/implications The limitation of this study derives from the fact that the sample size
was small, which was necessary for an in-depth qualitative research and application of the case study method.
The observations were made on a selected case study, within a limited period of time, thus the context of the
analysis as well as the stakeholder perception was subject to possible change. The research limitations concern
the provisional nature of the information obtained, the cross-sectional nature of the analysis itself, and,finally,
the inability to predict all future events. Ultimately, stakeholder mapping was performed for the operational
phase of the investment exclusively, while the analysis was limited to identification and classification of the
stakeholders, including their relationship with the project.
Practical implications The research conclusions provide useful input for future research on development
of effective strategies for management of the shareholders that are related to a given infrastructure project, in
order to achieve project success. Simultaneously, from a property perspective, the research has contributed to a
better understanding of the importance of infrastructure, on the part of real estate stakeholders.
Social implications Application of the approach proposed in the study may contribute to early
development and implementation of appropriate trust-building processes. The building of relationships
between stakeholders enables checks and balances, promotes short- and long-term project benefits, and
increases the value of a project.
analysis to
This paper forms part of a special section Industrial Infrastructure and Real Estate, guest edited by
Professor Seow Eng Ong, Associate Professor Chyi Lin Lee.
The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available on Emerald Insight at:
Received 20 March 2019
Revised 17 July 2019
16 August 2019
Accepted 28 September 2019
Journal of Property Investment &
Vol. 39 No. 3, 2021
pp. 199-222
© Emerald Publishing Limited
DOI 10.1108/JPIF-03-2019-0037
Originality/value The novelty of the research consists in the connection, as part of infrastructure projects,
of the theory of consumption values and the concept of an investment cycle withthe framework of stakeholder
Keywords Effectiveness, Sustainability, Transportation, Infrastructure, Investment management,
Stakeholder analysis
Paper type Research paper
1. Introduction
1.1 Justification and the research aim
For the first time ever, majority of the worlds population lives in cities and this proportion
continues to grow (United Nations, 2015). Economic activity, commerce, provision of public
services and transportation have, therefore, concentrated in the cities and thus require proper
infrastructure to keep up with the living standards (ING Real Estate, 2006). Infrastructure is
also important for real estate stakeholders, since it is an important factor stimulating
investment activity on the real estate market (Wojewnik-Filipkowska et al., 2012), while the
links between the real estate and the infrastructure markets have been tightening (Wojewnik-
Filipkowska and Rymarzak, 2013).
Recognising the limitationsexisting in various studies and in different methodologies,the
worldsinfrastructure needs the estimationsto vary from $57 to 67 trillion by 2030 (Ruiz-Nu~
and Wei, 2015). New investments, reinvestments or modifications (Lind and Muyingo, 2012),
their implementationand maintenance as wellas exploitation of public urban infrastructure,in
terms of speed and scale, generate serious problems for governments worldwide. Problems
associatednot only with finance (Finkenzelleret al.,2010;Koppenjanet al.,2018)haveemerged,
including public budgetconstraints (Deutsche Asset Management, 2017),since satisfaction of
the growing demandfor infrastructure, using investment,generates negative spillover effects,
such as congestion, pollution, a shifting demand for resources, unsustainable productionand
consumption, migration, public exclusion, and urban sprawl (Boarnet, 1998;Johnson, 2001;
Lidskog and Soneryd, 2000;Morenoand Lopez-Bazo, 2007). These patterns as well as many
examples ofunsuccessful investments (Pinto and Prescott,1988;Flyvbjerg et al., 2004;Abbasi,
2014) justify the growing need to rethink urban planning and investment development, in
order to increase effectiveness,sustainability and utility of investment projects (Alfonso Pi~
and Pardo Mart
ınez, 2016;Bobylev, 2009;Johnson, 2001;Squires and Heurkens,2016;Truffer
et al.,2010;Ugwu et al.,2006;Wojewnik-Filipkowska andWe
˛grzyn, 2019).
The urban development policy, operationalized by a strategy and implemented through
infrastructure projects, should reflect the decisions made by professionals, with due attention
paid to financial feasibi lity, despite the fact that, from an investment perspecti ve
(Finkenzeller et al., 2010) and a risk-analysis viewpoint (Loizou and French, 2012;Oprea,
2010), they constitute a separate asset class. Proper attention must also be paid to the
engagement of inhabitants, which aggregates urgency (a claim for immediate attention) and
power (ability to control the environment) (Wojewnik-Filipkowska and We
˛grzyn, 2019). The
research addressed in this paper assumes that early engagement, which is related to the
significance of public involvement of inhabitants, contributes to project success. For instance,
Slotterback (2010) identifies broader community benefits that are associated with the
processes of effective community participation in transportation projects. She also recognises
a number of approaches for achieving effective public involvement, however, she underlines
that they are not a universal prescription. Also, Schweizer et al. (2014) claim that public
engagement is not a solution ensuring social acceptability. Moreover, Choudhury (2014)
claims that the legal mandate for public involvement in the overall project decision making,
and in environmental decision making in particular, is limited. The latter two drew their
conclusions based on energy-related infrastructure projects. Finally, Aapaoja et al. (2013)
state that early stakeholder involvement is a relatively new concept in construction

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