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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 Gdańsk, Sopot, Poland)
Anna Dziadkiewicz (Department of Marketing, University of Gdańsk, Sopot, Poland)
Wioleta Dryl (Department of Marketing, University of Gdańsk, Sopot, Poland)
Tomasz Dryl (Department of Marketing, University of Gdańsk, Sopot, Poland)
Robert Bęben (Department of Marketing, University of Gdańsk, Sopot, Poland)

Journal of Property Investment & Finance

ISSN: 1463-578X

Article publication date: 30 October 2019

Issue publication date: 15 March 2021




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).


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.


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.


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 with the framework of stakeholder analysis.



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.


Wojewnik-Filipkowska, A., Dziadkiewicz, A., Dryl, W., Dryl, T. and Bęben, R. (2021), "Obstacles and challenges in applying stakeholder analysis to infrastructure projects: Is there a gap between stakeholder theory and practice?", Journal of Property Investment & Finance, Vol. 39 No. 3, pp. 199-222.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited

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