Bauke Steenhuisen, Wijnand Veeneman, Leen van Doorn, Harry van Breen: Pursuing interactive decision?making to improve trade?offs in infrastructure projects. Paper for MOPAN, Wageningen, July 2012
This paper reports on how a Dutch energy network distribution company interacts with stakeholders in the decision making and execution of infrastructure projects. A multitude of external stakeholders can be involved having many different roles (Moore & Khagram 2004). In the Netherlands, these stakeholders can be subdivided in those related to the energy value chain (customers, energy producers, energy transport companies, energy sellers), those related to the space occupied by the infrastructure (local population and traffic, governmental agencies, water boards, project developers), those regulatory related to the sector (safety regulators, market regulators, law enforcement), and many more.
These stakeholders purport a variety of values, related to their role and personality or culture. The social performance of an organization operating in such a context, depends on how well its personnel, actions and products support these values. These stakeholder value systems are generally neither well?articulated nor stable (De Bruijn & Dicke 2006, Veeneman et al. 2009). In addition, the organization has to deal with possible trade?offs between the different values of different actors in the daily reality of performing infrastructure projects.
Applying stakeholder value systems with many infrastructure development projects has additional complications. A project is in its essence less tightly coupled to the organization as a whole and is directly aimed at action, directly influencing other stakeholders. This essentially requires companies to be guided by a constant, iterative, multi?actor process of defining and re?defining the values at hand and the trade?offs required in specific actions products, and projects. Multi?actor processes generally destabilize project conditions (De Bruijn & Ten Heuvelhof 2010). This paper confronts this multi?actor perspective on realizing public value with the current practices of a Dutch energy distribution company interacting with its stakeholders in the daily performance of infrastructure projects.