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代写Review of Stakeholder Theory

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  • Introduction
    Stakeholder management pays an important role in project management. There are considerabletheories of stakeholder to talk about that, but still, many practitioners do not know what stakeholder management is and what they should do with the stakeholders of their project.In order to explaining the importance of stakeholder management in IS management, this essay will firstly reviewthe stakeholder management literature and theory, which is related to IS projects. Following this, it will compare and contrast several options of stakeholder management literature and theory mentioned, which talk about managing and understanding stakeholders’ interests and behaviours so that the practitioners are able to understand stakeholderdynamics in IS projects.Finally, it willmake a conclusion and recommend an approach to managing thestakeholder dynamics in an IS development project.
     
    Review of Stakeholder Theory
    There are a lot of stakeholder theories and literatures. Regarding the definition of stakeholder, Freeman (1984) definedstakeholder as “can affect or is affected by the achievement of the organization’s objectives”. And Savage (1991) definedstakeholder as “have an interest in the actions of an organization and the ability to influence it”, while Clarkson (1995) definedstakeholder as “have, or claim, ownership, rights, or interests in a corporation and its activities”. The above statements all pointed out that stakeholder must have something to affect the organization.
     
    What is more,Freeman (1984) argued that to achieve sustainable development of enterprises, the manager must develop a strategy to meet a variety of different stakeholders’interest. After Freeman, Savage (1991) stated that a successful business strategy should be developed by its stakeholders, which arethe company's board members, employees and community representatives. That means, in addition to focus on the interests and revenue, it is necessary that company should at the same time pay attention tothe employees, customers and communities as well as all enterprise-related individuals or groups. In this way, the company will grow and blossom. In 1995,Thomas Donaldsonand Preston state in the Stakeholder Theory of the Corporation: Concepts, Evidence, and Implications that "identification of moral or philosophical guidelines for the operation and management of the corporation".Then, the ideas about what key attributes stakeholder should own was brought. According to the literature called “Toward a Theory ofStakeholder Identification and Salience: Defining the Principle of Who and WhatReally Counts” (Mitchell, Agle and Wood, 1997), three attributes including power, legitimacy as well as urgency make one a definitive stakeholder, which is the best statues. Power is the extent a party imposes its will to a relationship. Legitimacy is socially accepted and expected structures or behaviours, while urgency requires time sensitivity or criticality of the stakeholder's claims.That means, one, no matter an individual or a group, have the power and legitimacy in the organization and is able to react and make a decision in a timely manner when urgent circumstance comes up, is for sure the stakeholder who manager looks for. And the above three attributes are not steadily but variably.In 2002,Friedman and Miles explore the model which focuses on explaining the importance of distinguish different stakeholders and how and why stakeholder relationship changes over time. Later, Robert Allen Phillips distinguishes normatively legitimate stakeholders from the derivatively one. Normatively legitimate stakeholders are moral obligation, while the derivatively one affects the organization by their ability. For example, the Queen of the UK is a normatively legitimate stakeholder while the Prime Minister of the UK is the derivativelylegitimate stakeholder.
     
    Stakeholder Theory Evaluation
    To manage and understand stakeholders’ interest and behaviours, the basic theory or literature of stakeholder mentioned above should first be compared and contrasted. After the concept is clear, it is easy to manage and understand stakeholders’ interest and behaviours accordingly. For the definition of stakeholder, all of them point out that stakeholder should have the ability or interest to affect the organization. But their focus is different. Freeman point out a point that other ignores. The stakeholder is also affected by the organizations. So when the practitioners have developed a good understanding of how the stakeholders are being affected by the information system development project, they could maximize the advantages and minimize the disadvantages. In this way, they will be able to convince the stakeholders to accept the IS project. For example, ask questions such as “who affects and who is affected, instead of just who affects”. According to Savage, stakeholder must have an interest toward the organization. So whatpractitionerssupposed todo with the stakeholders is finding out their interest. By knowing what the IS project may bring benefits as well as risks to them, the practitioners are able to decide whether the stakeholders are keen on the project. For example, ask questions such as “who gains and losses from the IS project” instead of “who has the power over the IS project”.
     
    For the stakeholder theory, all of them believe there are various interests for stakeholders and distinguish stakeholders accordingly is significant for stakeholder management. Regardless of the similarities, their stand points are different. Freeman pointed out that the key to build business strategy is to meet the variety interest from different stakeholders. Savage had developed Freeman’s statement and stated that business strategy should be developed by different stakeholders themselves. Mitchell, Agle and Wood explored three attributes stakeholder should have, which is power, legitimacy and urgency. The more important the stakeholder is, the more power, legitimacy and urgency they should have. In other word, if one has all of those three attributes, the practitioners must pay a lot more attention to this one than others. And no matter how important one might see to be, if only one of those 3 variables is present, this party is not that important and the practitioners should turn theirfocus to others. With three attributes, stakeholders can be distinguished to eight type, including dormant stakeholder,discretionary stakeholders,demanding stakeholders,dominant stakeholders,dependent stakeholders,dependent stakeholders,dangerous stakeholdersand definitive stakeholders as well as non-stakeholder. Dormant stakeholders have power but without legitimacy and urgency so their power is unused.  Discretionary stakeholderspossess legitimacy, but do not have power and urgent claim. Practitioners will feel comfortable to deal with this kind of stakeholder. Demanding stakeholders just have urgent claims, but with no legitimacy and power, practitioners may feel uncomfortable to deal with them but they actually have little claim on the IS project. Dominant stakeholders who have power and legitimacy are what practitioners should build relationship with as they can form dominant coalition. Dependent stakeholders have no power but urgent and legitimate claims.Practitionersdo not need to spend much time on them as their will willdepend on others to carry out. So practitioners just need to manage and understand dominant and definitive stakeholders’ interest and behaviours to get dependent stakeholders in. Practitioners may be aware of dangerous stakeholders, because they possess urgency and power, but without legitimacy, following what they ask to do maybe coercive or dangerous. Definitive stakeholders possess power, legitimacy, and urgency at the same time, which are exactly what the practitioners look for. There is also one party practitioners may want to build relationship with, but when consider this party has none of these three attributes, the practitioners should spend less and even no time on them. Therefore, by pointing out what and who really counts, this theory helps practitioners to distinguish the primary, secondary and non-stakeholders and their potential impact of the IS project will be revealed. In addition, Friedman and Miles help explaining the importance of distinguish different stakeholders and how and why stakeholder relationship changes over time. By distinguish stakeholders’influence and interest degree, stakeholder can be put into four catalogue. The promoters,latents,defenders and apathetics.The promoters with high influence and interest are people who really concern about and have a word in the IS project. If they are positive about the IS project, the practitioners should put most effort on them. For example, if the stakeholder is the IS developer, the practitioners may even offer them a task so that they are responsible for that. Value their opinions, and add those opinions into the proper places. If their ideas are not taken, make sure they know why another seems to be a better idea. The latents are one with high influence and low interest.They could be very helpful if thepractitioners can convince them that IS project are toward their interest and for their own good.The practitionersshould stay close with and inform every single decision to them. Give them a chance to participate in the relevant issues. If the practitioners can shift them into the promoterscatalogue, it will help you conduct a successful IS project.The defenders are one with low influence and high interest. They are usually soldiers for you. Though they are with low influence, their interest will drive them to promote your IS project to the promoters, latents and apathetics. The apatheticsare those with low interest and low influence. They do not care about your IS project but they will not bother you or be the barrier of the IS project. And by distinguish the stakeholders interest and influence degree, the practitioners will have a clear map about which parties they should put a lot effect on and which could just ignore.