A Systems Approach to Project Stakeholder Management: Fuzzy Cognitive Map Modeling

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Project Management Journal

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Projects that make effective use of project stakeholder management (PSM) tend to run smoothly and be successful because stakeholders understand and agree with the project approaches and outcomes. Projects with ineffective stakeholder management, on the other hand, frequently experience delays and cost overruns or may even be terminated. To date, project teams have limited methodological support for PSM: Existing methods are dominantly static and internally focused, making it difficult to manage so-called external stakeholders, who are not under the authority of the project manager. This work aims to improve PSM practice by closing the methodological gap. We developed a novel decision-support methodology, based on Fuzzy Cognitive Map (FCM) modeling that leverages stakeholders’ public comments to anticipate the project’s impacts on them and to make conflicts between stakeholder interests and project objectives transparent. A demonstration of the method is provided using a single case—namely, a longitudinal case study at Bonneville Power Administration (BPA), a federal agency that provides power to the Pacific Northwest.


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