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Managing the expectations of external stakeholders in construction projects

Albert P.C. Chan (Department of Building and Real Estate, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong)
Goodenough D. Oppong (Department of Building and Real Estate, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong)

Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management

ISSN: 0969-9988

Article publication date: 18 September 2017




The consideration of external stakeholders has proven to be more critical than internal stakeholders in construction projects. The purpose of this paper is to present the diverse expectations of external stakeholder groups, i.e. governmental authorities, general public, and affected local communities, in construction projects. The practical steps to manage the expectations are also outlined.


A three-stage methodology was adopted for the review. The primary terms “stakeholder,” “project participants,” or “project environment” were first searched in four popularly search engines and eight top journals that publish construction research to retrieve publications. After a second-stage filtering process, the selected data were then analyzed and reviewed in line with the objectives.


In total, 49 common expectations were identified and classified. The results indicate that each stakeholder group pursues expectations in line with the social, environmental, and economic sustainability objectives. For effective management, project managers (PMs) must know stakeholder opportunities and threats, fulfill social responsibilities, establish common goals, apply appropriate strategies, and enhance stakeholder satisfaction.

Research limitations/implications

The identified expectations are only based on the selected publications. Even though the expectations have been categorized in line with the triple bottom line model, the relative importance of the expectations cannot be ascertained since there is no empirical support.

Practical implications

PMs can play safe by acknowledging the stakeholder expectations and employ such strategies to curtail resulting impacts and maximize mutual benefits. The list of expectations could also be used to promote equitable value optimization in projects, enhance needs fulfillment, and facilitate the evaluation of external stakeholder satisfaction.


This study provides a comprehensive checklist of construction stakeholder expectations which hitherto, is lacked in the literature. Moreover, practical steps to manage the expectations of external stakeholders have been discussed.



The authors would like to thank the Department of Building and Real Estate of the Hong Kong Polytechnic University for funding this study. It should be noted that the review paper constitutes part of a main PhD study from which other similar research papers differing in objectives/scopes have been produced, thus, sharing common background and methodology. However, the outcomes are distinct and believed to independently contribute to knowledge in this area.


Chan, A.P.C. and Oppong, G.D. (2017), "Managing the expectations of external stakeholders in construction projects", Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, Vol. 24 No. 5, pp. 736-756.



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Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited

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