Interpreting stakeholder ecosystems through relational stakeholder theory: The case of a highly contested megaproject
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionCorazza, L., Cottafava, D., Torchia, D. & Dhir, A. (2023). Interpreting stakeholder ecosystems through relational stakeholder theory: The case of a highly contested megaproject. Business Strategy and the Environment (BSE). https://doi.org/10.1002/bse.3601
Managing stakeholders' concerns in megaprojects with an inclusive and ethical vision is a current open challenge. To overcome company-centered stakeholder-management practices, an ecosystem view, (i.e., one based on the network of relationships among involved stakeholders), should be adopted by designing bottom-up participatory stakeholder mapping processes that include the stakeholders affected by the construction of a megaproject. This paper presents an analysis of the stakeholder ecosystem of a contested megaproject in Italy (the Turin–Lyon high-speed rail) aimed at identifying similarities and discrepancies in stakeholder identification and prioritization between the managers' perception and an ecosystem point of view. The study followed a mixed-method approach. By coding the self-declared statements from 21 interviews with middle and top managers of the organization in charge of the construction and visualizing the emerging network of actors through a social network analysis and the use of centrality degrees, the most relevant stakeholders are identified. Our findings reveal how the prioritization of stakeholders obtained through the centrality degrees significantly differs from what the managers declare in reference to the concept of salience, highlighting how a bottom-up stakeholder mapping process—by including the stakeholders themselves in the mapping process—should be designed and reiterated during the whole life of a megaproject in order to adopt an inclusive stakeholder management approach.