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Keywords:

  • project portfolio management;
  • project portfolio stakeholders;
  • stakeholder management;
  • stakeholder theory;
  • stakeholder behavior

Abstract

Project portfolio management (PPM) is viewed as a management innovation that must be further established and professionalized in many firms. Stakeholder behavior and stakeholder management are key success factors for project portfolios. Furthermore, stakeholder management must not only focus on single stakeholders but also account for stakeholders influencing one another in fairly complex interactions of multiple and potentially interdependent stakeholders.

Our quantitative study of internal key stakeholders' engagement in the PPM process is based on a survey using 223 project portfolios from medium to large firms in Austria, Germany, and Switzerland. We investigate the intensity of stakeholders' engagement in the three phases of the PPM process compared with expectations from PPM standards and role descriptions. Further, we analyze the interdependencies between the levels of stakeholder engagement and identify patterns of stakeholder behavior.

Our study assists in explaining the relevance of stakeholders to PPM. We further integrate stakeholder theory with a highly relevant management approach (PPM) and thus enhance the explanatory value of stakeholder theory. Finally, the current findings enable managers to address stakeholders more effectively through an increased understanding of stakeholder behavior and its consequences.