Beach, S & Keast, RL 2010, 'Governance networks and stakeholders: engaging through salience', 14th Annual Conference of the International Research Society for Public Management (IRSPMXIV), University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland, 7-9 April, IRSPM.
Across Australia, construction and redevelopment of public infrastructure, continues to be a key factor in economic development. Within this context, road transport has been identified as key building block of Queensland‟s future prosperity. However, since the late twentieth century, there has been a shift away from delivery of large infrastructure, including road networks, exclusively by the state.
Subsequently, a range of alternative models, have emerged in infrastructure project delivery. Among these, governance networks have become a widespread mechanism for planning and delivering infrastructure. However, despite substantial public investments in road infrastructure that are made through governance networks, little is known about how these networks engage with stakeholders who are potentially affected by road infrastructure projects. Although governance networks undertake management functions, it is unclear what drives stakeholder engagement within this networked environment and how stakeholder relationship management is operationalised.
This paper proposes that network management functions undertaken by governance networks incorporate stakeholder engagement and that network managers play a key role in creating and sustaining connections between governance networks and their stakeholders Drawing on stakeholder theory and governance network theory, this paper contributes to the literature by showing that stakeholder engagement is embedded within network management and identifying the critical role of network managers in establishing and maintaining stakeholder engagement.