Social power in public-private partnerships: shifting sands make an unstable foundation
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This case study examines stakeholder salience and social power in the pre-solicitation phase of a public-private partnership. Public bodies are increasingly exploring public-private partnerships to address high-cost, high-profile, high-risk public infrastructure needs. These multi-stakeholder procurement methods require a deeper understanding of stakeholder salience and power dynamics. The methodology in this study consisted of coding archival documents and interviews and analyzing data from worksheets provided by informants. Stakeholder theory is applied to the case of a $1 billion new airport terminal project, and the findings reflect shifting salience among key stakeholders over the study's timeline. Power ratings were collected from key stakeholders to assess themselves and their peers throughout the process. Power ratings illustrated through radar charts demonstrated a progression toward a nearly equal distribution of power among highly salient stakeholders. In this case, the pre-solicitation phase evolved from presenting a sole-source, no-bid proposal with private financing to requiring a full and open competition with public financing. There was an evident decrease in the power rating for some stakeholders and an increase in the power rating for other stakeholders. These dynamics suggest that an academic and managerialist approach to public-private partnerships, particularly in the critical pre-solicitation phase, should consider the application of stakeholder theory and collaboration techniques to better understand stakeholder salience and social power.
Table of Contents
Introduction -- Literature review -- methodology -- Findings -- Analysis -- In conclusion -- Appendix A. Invitation to Participate -- Appendix B. Consent to Participate -- Appendix C. Worksheet Presented to Informants
Ph.D. (Doctor of Philosophy)