Engaging External Stakeholders to Improve Public-Private Partnership Water Project Completion Rates

John Paul Kolman, Walden University

Abstract

Public-private partnership (PPP) water projects may have competing external stakeholders, resulting in a disproportionately high project failure rate when compared to other types of infrastructure projects. Private companies and local governments use PPP projects as a means to bridge deficiencies in local government funding and knowledge to assist in bringing improved water to their communities. The purpose of this qualitative single case study was to examine strategies leaders use to engage their external stakeholders in improving their PPP project completion rates. The study was grounded in Freeman's stakeholder theory. The participants consisted of 3 leaders who recently completed stakeholder activities for a PPP water project in the southwestern United States. Data were collected through semistructured interviews with additional supporting materials of public handouts, mailers, and news reports from the public domain. Data were analyzed using inductive coding. The themes that emerged included developing local knowledge of stakeholders, partnering with stakeholders, and effective communication with stakeholders. Leaders may use the study findings to assist in professional practice by helping to ensure successful PPP projects that can ultimately lead to a reduction in costs from negative stakeholder interactions. Implications for positive social change may include the potential for private companies to assist communities with increasing their success rates with PPP water projects to bring about crucial water infrastructure improvements.