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)


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


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.

Author Biographies

François Labelle, Université Québec à Trois-Rivières Canada

Dr. Labelle, Ph.D., is Professor of Strategy and Corporate Social Responsibility in the Department of Management at the School of Management of the Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières (UQTR). He is the Director of the Institute for Research on SMEs (INRPME). He is also responsible for Vigie-PME (, a center for information monitoring and popular science about social responsibility and sustainable development in the context of entrepreneurship and SMEs. His work also covers these topics. They have been published in several scientific journals and in several books.

Aliénor de Rouffignac

Rouffignac is a Ph.D. candidate in economics at the University of Reims Champagne Ardennes and at the french public research establishment IRSTEA in Bordeaux. She is a graduate agronomist from ISTOM engineering school and also has a master’s degree in tropical forest and ecosystem management from AgroParisTech. Her research interests include heritage economics, valorization of forest biomass and bioeconomy, industrial ecology, conflicts of uses and mutation of forest-based value chains.

Pierre-Olivier Lemire

Lemire is a Ph.D. candidate in the science and engineering of lignocellulosic materials at the Department of Chemistry, Biochemistry, and Physics, at Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières. He is a geographer and bioresources engineer specializing in environmental engineering and management. His research interests are in biotechnology systems design, biomass supply chains, and techno-economic modeling applied to sustainable biorefining and industrial ecology. Pierre-Olivier is also a lecturer and entrepreneur. He is a consultant on R&D, on biotechnology, and on circular bioeconomy.

Christophe Bredillet, Université Québec à Trois-Rivières Canada

Pr. Bredillet, PhD, D.Sc., IPMA Level A, FAPM, is full professor of organizational project management at the Management Department, School of Business, Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières (UQTR). He is Dean of the UQTR School of Business, and Director of the doctoral program. From 2012 to 2015, he was the Director of the QUT Project Management Academy. Before joining QUT, he was Senior Consultant World Bank and, from 1992 to 2010, he was the Dean of Postgraduate Programs and Professor of Strategic Management and Project, Programme and Portfolio Management (P3M) at ESC Lille. To date, he has been principal supervisor of 41 doctoral students. Pr. Bredillet's main interests and research activities are in the field of Philosophy of Science and Practice in P3M. He is member of 4 international editorial boards and was Editor-in-Chief of Project Management Journal® between 2004 and 2012. He received the IPMA Research Achievement Award 2016 for the outstanding contribution to project related knowledge through research and the prestigious Manfred Saynish Foundation for Project Management (MSPM) – Project Management Innovation Award for his contribution to a philosophy of science with respect to complex project management (2012). Prof Bredillet is widely published and a frequent speaker at international conferences and events related to P3M.

Simon Barnabé, Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières (UQTR)

Barnabé is an industrial microbiologist with master’s and Ph.D. degree in water sciences from INRS-ETE in Quebec, Canada. He is a professor at Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières (UQTR) in Quebec, Canada where he holds an Industrial Research Chair in Environment and Biotechnology and jointly holds the Industrial Research Chair in Regional Bioeconomy and Bioenergy with one of his colleagues. He is the scientific director of Institute of Innovations on ecomaterials, ecoproducts and ecoenergy at UQTR and he is an active member of many research centers and networks in Canada and around the world. His research activities are dedicated to relaunch regional economies and to revitalize local infrastructure and expertise through diversification of biomass products. Through his industrial researches and partnerships, his team has developed many expertise’s in areas such as biomass fractionation, 2nd and 3rd generation biofuels, biomaterials and bioingredients. With his team of 20 students and professionals, he searches to maximize benefits from resource recovery by applying a unique community-based biorefining approach. He is also known to favor university-college-industry-city synergy in all of his projects, which accelerate his researches and allow him to cover the entire chain of value of biobased products and materials. Indeed, he is now involved in land development and circular economy by being a scientific counsellor for many cities or regions.


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How to Cite

Labelle, F. ., Rouffignac, A. de, Lemire, P.-O. ., Bredillet, C. ., & Barnabé, S. . (2022). Managing tensions and paradoxes between stakeholders in a complex project context: Case study and model proposal. The Journal of Modern Project Management, 7(2). Retrieved from