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Influence, Stakeholder Mapping and Visualisation

"All men can see these tactics whereby I conquer, but what none can see is the strategy out of which victory is evolved."
Sun Tzu C.500 BC

Keywords: Stakeholder management, organisation behaviour, organisational politics.

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Influence, Stakeholder Mapping and Visualisation [P062]

Stakeholder identification, management and engagement are recognised as key project management skills; however, this is a ‘soft’ skill that requires both intuition and a strong capacity for analysis. There are few tools and methodologies to which people undertaking stakeholder management activities can turn.  Highly complex problem solving activities, such as stakeholder management, can benefit from high level conceptual approaches that allow those involved to see clearly or to visualize the situation being examined. Metaphors, particularly highly visual representations of complex situations, can be very helpful in triggering simplification to a level where understanding of the situation can yield fruitful results in moving forward to developing plans and actions. 

Visualisation tools for stakeholder management can be of great value.  The development and use of two such tools are described. While they are both independently useful they could be effectively combined. This prospect could reduce the chances of project failure and enhance success through having clearer pictures of stakeholder influence patterns.

Authors: Derek Walker, Arthur Shelley and Lynda Bourne

This is a preprint of an article whose final and definitive form has been published in the Construction
Management and Economics, June 2008 [copyright Taylor & Francis];
Construction Management
and Economics is available online at:

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