Examining Stakeholder Management Challenges and their impact on Project Management in the case of Advocacy and Empowerment NGOs in the Upper East Region of Ghana

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NGOs in the UER of Ghana face challenges from different people and groups by serving multiple stakeholders with potentially conflicting needs and interests. The study examined the challenges in stakeholder management and their impact on project management in advocacy and empowerment NGOs in the UER of Ghana. Purposive sampling was used to select 35 respondents comprising 20 project and programme managers, 10 frontline project staff and 5 key resource persons. Structured questionnaire was used to obtain information from project and programme managers while semi-structured questionnaire was used to elicit information from frontline staff and key resource persons. The study identified traditional and public authorities, donors, clients, sister NGOs, the media and project communities as generally recognized key stakeholders to the sector. Labour unions, volunteers and insurance companies were also identified as stakeholders but by few of the NGOs. It was revealed also that the interests and roles of the key Stakeholders were very critical to the operations of the NGOs; however stakeholder management was found to be characterized by casual and ad-hoc actions and predominantly not institutionalized. Challenges like unhealthy competition, conflicting interests, poor commitment, limited interest, understanding and appreciation, anti-stakeholder leadership problems, entrenched positions, beliefs and practices were found to impact severely on the work of the NGOs. The study concluded that the many challenges encountered were due to the casual and ad-hoc actions and the non institutionalization of stakeholder management by the NGOs. The researcher recommend that stakeholder management should be institutionalized and entrusted to professionals with the relevant training and skills who can ensure stakeholder processes do live up to the expectations and standards of experienced practitioners in the field.
A Thesis submitted to the Institute of Distance Learning, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Commonwealth Executive Masters in Business Administration,