A Dynamic Approach to Stakeholder Theory for Temporary Organizations

Friday, October 4, 2013 ( 11:30 am to 12:30 pm )

Location: BC 641

Dissertation Proposal Defense

Ting Gao, Ph.D. student        


  • Dr. Thomas G. Lechler, Howe School of Technology Management (Chair)
  • Dr. C. Timothy Koeller, Howe School of Technology Management
  • Dr. Murad Mithani, Howe School of Technology Management
  • Dr. Anthony Barrese, School of System & Enterprises
  • Dr. Grant T. Savage, Department of Management, Information Systems & Quantitative Methods, The University of Alabama at Birmingham

The stakeholder theory originated by R. E. Freeman (1984) gained over the years high popularity in management research. The theory helps in explaining the roles and influence of stakeholders tied to permanent organizations. It was recently applied to explore project related stakeholder issues by project management researchers. However, projects are temporary organizations that exist only for a limited time and changes through consecutive phases representing a different context of stakeholders. The different phases   through a project’s life cycle could be characterized by dynamics of stakeholder relationships, which increase the difficulty of management of project stakeholders. Freeman’s stakeholder theory has limitations to explain   the dynamics of project stakeholders over a project life cycle. This research recognizes and integrates the dynamic aspects of temporary organizations in an attempt to develop a stakeholder theory for temporary organizations. The formation and dynamics of dominant stakeholder expectations over time are introduced as an explanatory variable of project changes. In addition, the dynamics of stakeholder relationships are associated with the changes in dominant expectation. A case study research will be conducted to reveal the process of stakeholder related dynamics and their interactions with project changes in projects. The expected contributions of this work are two-fold. With respect to theory, this work helps to move the stakeholder expectation concept from the periphery of stakeholder theory to a central position to address the characteristics of project stakeholders. With respect to practice, the study develops possible ways to align stakeholder expectations with project objectives in order to reduce project changes and thus improve project success.