Conceptualizing stakeholder engagement in the context of sustainability and its assessment
Stakeholder engagement in construction projects can be conceptualized in different ways. It can be seen from a strategic management perspective aimed at capturing knowledge, increasing ownership of the project by users, reducing conflict, encouraging innovation and facilitating spin-off partnerships. From an ethical perspective, meaningful stakeholder engagement can be seen to enhance inclusive decision making, promote equity, enhance local decision making and build social capital. The benefits from both of these perspectives are vital for sustainability; however, stakeholder engagement can also be seen from the perspective of an opportunity for social learning—a social process where diverse stakeholders share a common forum, learn about each other's values, reflect upon their own values and create a shared vision and shared objectives. Dialogue is also useful in increasing awareness, changing attitudes and affecting behaviours. Existing practices view stakeholder engagement: mostly from a management perspective; sometimes from an ethical perspective; less often as a combination of the two; and rarely have any element of the social learning perspective. There is a need for an approach that combines all the three perspectives if sustainability is to be pursued. A dialogue-oriented approach to integrated sustainability assessment could provide an ideal means to do so.
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Volume (Year): 26 (2008)
Issue (Month): 6 ()
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