Dynamic stakeholder salience mapping framework for highway route alignment decisions: China–Pakistan economic corridor as a case study

Irfan Zafar, Geoffrey Qiping Shen, Hafiz Zahoor, Jin Xue, E. M.A.C. Ekanayake

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Undervaluing the stakeholders’ attributes, salience, and potential to impact a project during its planning and execution may result in stakeholders’ dissatisfaction, distrust, and opposition, leading to project controversies, cost overrun, schedule delays, and even project cessation. The existing stakeholders’ management typologies due to their inherent limitations are unable to provide the project managers with an optimal and comprehensive solution. The present study proposes a framework to improve the stakeholders’ management process by a novel way of mapping stakeholders’ attribute-based salience and potential impact probability into a dynamic stakeholder relational matrix. The framework was validated through a case study conducted on a mega-highway project from China–Pakistan Economic Corridor. The data was collected through a questionnaire survey and analyzed using SPSS. Twelve stakeholder groups with 36 stakeholders were identified. Stakeholders’ salience index and stakeholders’ impact probability were computed and mapped in the stakeholders’ salience assessment matrix (SSAM). The findings revealed significant dominance of the political hierarchy, project management, and defense services in the alignment selection process. Environmentalists, community, local authority, and non-governmental organizations were found deprived of reasonable participation opportunities, and their presence is often undermined and neglected in the selection process. However, the logical stakeholders’ classification and corresponding relational and engagement strategies offered by SSAM are expected to compensate the disparity and improve transparency in the decision process. This study contributes to the existing body of knowledge by proposing a comprehensive framework that integrates stakeholders’ salience, potential impact, and relational strategy simultaneously. The framework is expected to aid project managers during crucial project decision-making stages to assess stakeholders, their participation provisos, and desired engagement approaches. The proposed framework exhibits the requisite flexibility for its application on diverse infrastructure projects with certain project-specific modifications.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1297-1309
Number of pages13
JournalCanadian Journal of Civil Engineering
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • China–Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC)
  • Decision-making
  • Highway alignment
  • Salience
  • Stakeholder

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • General Environmental Science


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