Structure and agency in project stakeholder management

J. Taylor, G.M. Winch

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review


The prevalent view of project stakeholder management theory assumes that stakeholders will behave freely according to their own rational self-interest, and, based on this assumption, that their position towards a project can be predicted and managed. The process gives precedence to human agency, with little or no consideration of the structural forces which may also constrain and enable stakeholder behaviours. This paper challenges that view, using the notion of Institutional Logics to demonstrate the significant influence that structural forces have on stakeholder behaviours. Our case study will be a major, IT enabled, UK government change project. In providing this empirically grounded theoretical contribution, we offer a powerful new way to reconceptualise project stakeholder management which gives precedence to neither structure nor agency. Instead we argue that both have significant influencing effects on stakeholder behaviours, and that both should be given consideration in project stakeholder management analyses.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationhost publication
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2015
EventEuropean Academy of Management - Warsaw
Duration: 17 Jun 201518 Jul 2015


ConferenceEuropean Academy of Management


  • Institutional Logics, Neo-institutional Theory, Project Stakeholder Management, Structure, Agency


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