Professor Ed Freeman’s new The Stakeholder Podcast features interviews with some of the world’s best theorists, policymakers, scholars, authors and practitioners of stakeholder thinking. With a growing number of episodes, the podcast challenges leaders to think differently about capitalism and business as engines for more inclusive growth, innovation and social good.
In a recent episode, Professor Yael Grushka-Cockayne shares what stakeholder theory has to do with her research and teaching, especially her popular project management massive open online course, “Fundamentals of Project Planning and Management.”
“Thousands of people a week take this course,” she says, “and people think they are coming in to get operational, tactical tools ... quantitative [methods], maybe some simulations, technical components. And I’m bringing in the stakeholder grid.” If you don’t, says Professor Grushka-Cockayne, “why might that limit the success of the project being executed? [Would] you never have gotten to a point of resistance if you had aligned the project to stakeholders’ goals?”
The two Darden professors talk about the “jointness” of stakeholder relationships, the importance of communications and content in project management, and how transparency about how leaders make decisions can signal to other stakeholders how they should be making decisions in a way that respects the stakeholder orientation of that leadership. Grushka-Cockayne introduces “agile project management” as a project management modality that brings customers, planners and executors into the same teams to accomplish a project. She discusses the future of project management, the concerns she has about speed, and why project managers need to take some time right now to understand stakeholders who have traditionally been left out of decision-making.