Modern Project Management

(ISSN: 2317-3963)

Managing tensions and paradoxes between stakeholders in a complex project context: Case study and model proposal

François Labelle
Université Québec à Trois-Rivières Canada
Aliénor de Rouffignac
Pierre-Olivier Lemire
Christophe Bredillet
Université Québec à Trois-Rivières Canada
Simon Barnabé
Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières (UQTR)


Stakeholder (SH) management has recently undertaken a turn from the traditional management "of" to managing "for" and "with" SH. Relating to this relational trend, identification and management tensions between SH is an important area of study. Indeed, from how to live with and/or resolve or not those tensions depends the possibility of building the most beneficial cooperation possible between SH for the continuation of the project, to obtain win-win results, and promote shared value and common good. For this purpose, a theoretical model is suggested, based on the approaches of paradoxes and conventionalist economy of worth, supporting the identification of tensions between SH and their justifications, and the clarification it helps to bring as to win-win or shared value outcomes, or the absence of such, in the context of a complex project. The suggested model is then used in an exploratory case study. The goal is to assess its relevance, usefulness and quality. Two theoretical contributions emerge from the data analysed: 1) several tensions over various categories (allegiance, dimensional, temporal, learning, performance and spatial) can draw on the same justifications (rationale that oppose industrial and domestic conventions); 2) a prioritization of tension categories can make it easier to resolve them.

Keywords: complex project management ,paradox approach ,tensions ,shared value ,stakeholder management ,



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