Stakeholder complexity in large scale green building projects: A holistic analysis towards a better understanding

Ka Yan Mok, Geoffrey Qiping Shen, Rebecca Yang

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: In response to the world’s rising awareness on sustainability, industry players and policymakers are devoting great efforts to bolster green building developments. Every green building project (GBP) involves numerous stakeholders and potentially incompatible concerns. Despite the associated environmental, economic and social benefits, GBP developments have often confronted managerial barriers which are actually emerged from stakeholders – the actual key determinants of a project. Holistically analyzing the complexity of stakeholders in GBPs is, therefore, crucial to improving GBP management and achieving greater sustainability for all involved. The purpose of this paper is to analyze stakeholder complexity in large GBPs using a holistic framework which integrates both empirical and rationalistic analytical perspectives. Design/methodology/approach: The complexity of stakeholders in GBPs can be considered from three aspects – identifying stakeholders, assessing stakeholder interactions and analyzing stakeholder concerns. The proposed stakeholder analysis framework uses both empirical methods (e.g. interviews and surveys) and rationalistic methods (e.g. chain referral sampling and social network analysis) to analyze GBP stakeholder complexity. Case study of a lab-enabled commercial GBP in Hong Kong was undertaken to illustrate the framework. Findings: The framework enables a holistic, objective and effective stakeholder analysis; leading GBP leaders toward a complete understanding of project stakeholder complexity. The case study findings bring managerial insights to GBP leaders on the general SNA-related stakeholder dynamics and the important stakeholder concerns, of large Hong Kong GBPs. The findings diagnose general connectivity structures of GBP stakeholders, identify influential and peripheral actors in GBP information exchange, and suggest clues to improve their dynamics. In addition, ten key stakeholder concerns were identified, including comprehensive governmental standards and procedures, clear sustainability goals at the outset, effective stakeholder engagement, adequate design flexibility, and a “can-do” attitude of contractors and consultants – which are all vital for successful GBP development. The underlying reasons of these concerns and recommendations to addressing them were also discussed. Originality/value: Many existing GBP stakeholder studies appear to use a single analytical perspective to assess project stakeholder complexity, but this may not gain a full understanding. The holistic stakeholder analysis framework used herein combines empiricism and rationalism. It helps to bring GBP leaders and implementers toward a more informed project decision making, a more thorough understanding of stakeholder complexity, as well as a more effective engagement of stakeholders.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1454-1474
Number of pages21
JournalEngineering, Construction and Architectural Management
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 3 Dec 2018


  • Case study
  • Green building project
  • Social network analysis
  • Stakeholder

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Architecture
  • Building and Construction
  • Business, Management and Accounting(all)


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