How to engage stakeholders in research: design principles to support improvement

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How to engage stakeholders in research: design principles to support improvement

This paper presents a brief framework of stakeholder engagement, followed by ‘design principles’ that are suggested based on an integration of current literature and new empirical understanding from the recently completed longitudinal study of stakeholder management. The design principles for stakeholder engagement are classified into three groups namely organisational, value and practices. The organisational principles are to define the objectives of stakeholder engagement; include stakeholder engagement in a framework or model of research use; identify the relevant resources for stakeholder engagement; execute plans for organisational learning and rewarding  of effective stakeholder engagement; and to admit that some stakeholders are likely to play a fundamental role. The principles correlated to the values are to cultivate shared commitment to the values and objectives of stakeholder engagement in the project team; share understanding that stakeholder engagement is often about more than individuals; promoting individual stakeholders and their organisations to value engagement; recognise potential tension between productivity and inclusion; and to create a shared commitment to sustained and continuous stakeholder engagement. Lastly, with regards to practices, the principles pointed out the importance of outlining stakeholder engagement activity as means of the research programme of work; establish flexibility within the research process to include engagement and the outcomes of engagement; examine how input from stakeholders can be assembled, analysed and used; and to acknowledge the identification and inclusion of stakeholders is a continual and ongoing process.

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