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25 years of stakeholder theory in project management literature (1984–2009)



After 25 years from its inception by Freeman in 1984, the stakeholder approach enjoys support from a growing community of researchers and practitioners. In this article, we try to outline this development by carrying out a meta-analysis within the leading project management journals. We found that stakeholder theory is predominantly fed by articles from Anglo-American countries and applied in the construction and IT sectors. The understanding of the stakeholder notion is moved towards a more complex view. Articles from different project management areas indicate the key role of stakeholders in projects.