Project Team Members and Stakeholder Management


Series on Project Management for Team Members
Article 4

By Prof Marco Sampietro

SDA Bocconi School of Management

Milan, Italy


This is the fourth article of the series: Project Management for Team Members (aka Project Followership). We will deal with the importance of team members in stakeholder management and the difficulties they may face.

The topic of stakeholder management is relatively recent in the project management discipline. The first studies go back to the seventies, and they were related to the implementation of large public projects or complex IT systems. One of the first papers completely dedicated to stakeholder management can be traced back to the work of David Cleland, who in 1986 published the paper Project Stakeholder Management in the Project Management Journal. Finally, while the PMBOK introduced the notion of project stakeholders in the first edition in 1996, we had to wait until 2013, with the fifth edition, for a knowledge area dedicated to project stakeholder management.

To gain a deeper understanding of stakeholder management, reading the recent series of articles written by Dr Lynda Bourne in this journal is recommended.

Nowadays project stakeholder management is quite a “hot topic” since many people have realized that projects may affect and be influenced by many individuals and organizations. Not considering or managing them can trigger negative reactions resulting in poor project performance, if not their premature end. Looking at the glass as half full and not considering or managing project stakeholders may result in the leveraging of fewer opportunities.

The purpose of this article is not to stress the importance of involving project team members in stakeholder management but to make the team members aware of the important role they play in stakeholder management, and also to highlight some of the difficulties they may face in the stakeholder management process.


While it is quite intuitive that team members should have a role in project stakeholder management, we would like to underline their importance by noting that:

  • Based on the experiments and observations we carried out, it has been noted that individuals are rarely able to identify more than 60% of the actual stakeholders. What do we mean by actual stakeholder? It is very simple. We compared the list of project stakeholders created by individual team members/project managers with the list created through team effort; we then asked team members and project managers: do you think the stakeholders on this new list that were not on your individual lists are useless or irrelevant? The answers always confirmed that the additional stakeholders were relevant and they should be managed somehow.


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About the Author


SDA Bocconi School of Management
Bocconi University

Milan, Italy



Marco Sampietro obtained a Ph.D. at the University of Bremen, Germany. Since 2000 he has been a professor at SDA Bocconi School of Management, Milan, Italy. SDA Bocconi School of Management is ranked among the top Business Schools in the world (Financial Times, Forbes, Bloomberg, and The Economist rankings). He is a Core Faculty Member at SDA Bocconi School of Management and teaches Project Management in the MBA – Master of Business Administration, and GEMBA – Global Executive Master of Business Administration programs. He is Faculty Member at MISB – Mumbai International School of Business, the Indian subsidiary of Bocconi University, and Visiting Professor at IHU – International Hellenic University, Greece. He is also a Contract Professor at Bocconi University and Milano Fashion Institute for the Project Management courses.

He was a speaker at the NASA Project Management Challenge 2007, 2008, and 2011, in the USA, and a speaker at the PMI Global European Congress, Italy, 2010.

He is Member of the Steering Committee of IPMA-Italy.

He is co-author and/or editor of 10 books on project management and 7 books on IT management. Among them: Empowering Project Teams. Using Project Followership to Improve Performance. CRC Press, 2014. Finally, he is the author of award-winning case studies and papers.

Dr. Sampietro can be contacted at: [email protected]

To see other works by Marco Sampietro, visit his author showcase in the PM World Library at http://pmworldlibrary.net/authors/marco-sampietro/