Modeling Project Stakeholder Influence Using Social Network Analysis

Influence is the power to persuade based on factors such as prestige, wealth, ability or position.  The political behavior of project stakeholders is the process by which individuals or groups acquire and maintain power in order to influence project outcomes according to their interests.  Unfortunately, not all project stakeholders share the same goal for a project.  They may not have the same level of interest in a project or the same ability to influence a project’s outcome.  Project managers need to understand and manage stakeholder influence in order to achieve project goals and objectives.  This means they must engage in the politics of projects.

In this series of articles, we will explore the use of social network analysis (SNA) as a means for project managers to visualize project stakeholder relationships and to assess influence in stakeholder networks. We will start by showing how project stakeholder networks can be represented by graphs.  Second, we will explore how network topology affects the concept of centrality and community in networks.  Third, we will look at how opinions diffuse through stakeholder networks.  Finally, we will discuss influence paths. Continue reading “Modeling Project Stakeholder Influence Using Social Network Analysis”