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Stakeholder management: the sociodynamic approach

Paul Walley (Project Management Office, Planning and Monitoring Department, King Faisal Hospital and Research Centre, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia)

International Journal of Managing Projects in Business

ISSN: 1753-8378

Article publication date: 14 June 2013




The purpose of this paper is to investigate whether or not traditional methods of sociodynamic profiling are useful as an analytical management approach to manage stakeholders in projects that are likely to experience high degrees of resistance to change.


As part of an action research project, three case studies are reported; 80 people involved in the projects were given semi‐structured interviews as part of the study.


The approach identified the stakeholder mechanisms that caused one project to fail. It also showed how and why the two other projects succeeded after adapting their approaches.

Research limitations/implications

The work is restricted to one economic sector: healthcare. There are methodological issues with the measurement of levels of support and resistance for projects.

Practical implications

The method helped refine stakeholder identification, linked stakeholder requirements and project scope, identified likely project failures, improved stakeholder communication methods and created a better understanding of resistance to change.


The approach has not previously been validated and shows great promise where it is used to analyse complex situations. It also highlights the dynamic nature of the stakeholder management task for project managers, as the challenges can be seen to change over time. The paper also provides a different insight into resistance to change in a project context.



Walley, P. (2013), "Stakeholder management: the sociodynamic approach", International Journal of Managing Projects in Business, Vol. 6 No. 3, pp. 485-504.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2013, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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