Stakeholder Management in Project Success

Is it an Object or Subject?



By Ömer Berkay Dağlı

MSc Student, Southampton Business School,

Southampton, UK



A penny has two faces. This fact must be considered in every aspect of the life, including the world of project management. While each stakeholder is a pressure element for the project and can be harmful, they can also be useful in creating opportunities. This dualistic nature of the stakeholders brings a question: “Are stakeholders an object or subject?” This article tries to explain the two sides of stakeholders with the light of their effects on project success. In the first part of the paper the relationship between stakeholders and project success is tried to be illustrated by the definition of these terms. In the second part of the article, an example of a strategy that can be followed for the management of this uncertainty, which is caused by stakeholders, is tried to be explained.


Verma likens projects to team sports and emphasizes the importance of each player (1995). Like team sports’ players, projects have different stakeholders and managing them is significant. Moreover, each stakeholder has their own unique influences on projects which can be both threat and opportunity. This two-sided interaction case leads us to a question that: “Are stakeholders an object or subject?” Below, paper begins by taking a closer look at the impact of stakeholders on the projects’ success in relation to practice. Secondly, paper will broadly examine the definition of success and stakeholders followed by their interaction. Next, the framework adopted by Ward & Chapman on the management of uncertainties will be roughly examined in order to present one of the stakeholder managing strategies. Finally, we will address some of the findings and recommendations regarding the importance of double-sided stakeholders managing practice for achieving success.

Success, Stakeholders and Interactions between Them

Every project consists of different interests, and those who own these interests are called project stakeholders (Olander & Landin, 2005). According to the PMBOK, stakeholder management is one of the factors that increase the success rate of the project (Project Management Institute, 2017). In addition, a survey conducted with 150 project managers from 8 different industries shows that stakeholders’ interest is the largest criterion for project success (Collins & Baccarini, 2004). Stakeholder management might be a challenge to project success in terms of creating disagreements and uncertainties (Johansen, et al., 2014). The great number of researchers demonstrates that especially for complex engineering and global projects which have a large number of interested groups or organizations, have been significantly affected by both internal and external stakeholders in different ways such as arising uncertainty or conflicts (Olander & Landin, 2005; Aaltonen & Kujala, 2010; Aaltonen & Sivonen, 2009; Davis, 2016).

Project management has an important place in all areas of life and business. However, in order to manage something, it is first necessary to see progress and to be able to measure[1]performance due to the most important consequences (Todorović, et al., 2015). How is a project’s success measured in today’s practical world? This question has long been a research topic that academics in project management have been trying to answer. “The Iron Triangle” which consists of time-cost-quality used in the past but recent works have shown that the success of the projects depends on many other factors, unlike The Iron Triangle (Atkinson, 1999; Todorović, et al., 2015). The main reason for this is that each project is unique, and the ability to measure success as a by-outcome or by-process is also specific to the project too. However, the project success and performance are measured in whatever way the comparison of the results with the objectives and identified success criteria is the most important measurement (Project Management Institute, 2017). The project objectives used during this comparison are determined entirely by the interests of the stakeholders directly or in-directly involved in the project (Atkinson, 1999).


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How to cite this article:
Dağlı, Ö. (2018). Stakeholder Management in Project Success: Is it an Object or Subject? PM World Journal, Volume VII, Issue 5, May 2018. https://pmworldjournal.net/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/pmwj70-May2018-Dagli-stakeholder-management-in-project-success-commentary.pdf

About the Author

Ömer Berkay Dağlı

Southampton Business School
Southampton, United Kingdom


Ömer Berkay Dağlı
is currently a Masters Candidate at Southampton Business School, University of Southampton, based in UK for the academic year 2017-2018. Previously, he has served as an Officer on Watch for over 30 months on board chemical tankers, based in different routes around the world where he served as Third and Second Officer. He completed his graduation in Marine Transportation Management dual diploma with honours from both Istanbul Technical University, Turkey and State University of New York Maritime College, USA in 2014. His major fields of study are project management, logistics and inter-modal transportation. His research interests include global project management, leadership, uncertainty management, programme and portfolio management, strategic PM, PM governance, stakeholders, project control and PM in the transportation and logistics industries.  Omer served as a research intern for the PM World Library during January 2018, completing the program in record time.  He can be contacted at [email protected]