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Stakeholder preference mapping: the case for built heritage of Georgetown, Malaysia

Lou, Eric CW and Lee, Angela and Lim, Yoke Mui (2021) Stakeholder preference mapping: the case for built heritage of Georgetown, Malaysia. Journal of Cultural Heritage Management and Sustainable Development. ISSN 2044-1266

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Abstract

Purpose While there is an established body of literature that discusses the importance of stakeholder management, and also the need for involvement of all stakeholders so that all values of a heritage site can be captured in a heritage management plan, the concepts are not generally developed in ways that make them useful in practice. This research seeks to bring greater clarity to the practice of stakeholder engagement in built heritage, so that organisations can manage their stakeholders in ways that meet their strategic goals. This study proposes a novel method to identify stakeholders, a stakeholder preference mapping approach, which will depict their influence on decisions based on a of power-interest scale. Design/methodology/approach This research posits a stakeholder preference mapping approach. Virtual Stakeholder Groups (VSG) were identified and stakeholder's significance impacts were measured using the RIBA Plan of Work 2013 to determine in-depth consideration of each stakeholder's power and interest against differing stages of a heritage project. Participants were convened through a 5-day workshop, consisting of 20 Malaysian and 19 international participants (80% academics and 20% Malaysian civil servants). The Multi-Attribute Decision Analysis (MADA) technique was then used to demonstrate how stakeholder identification and analysis can be used to help heritage teams meet their mandates. Findings The research identified eight virtual VSG (Extremist, Expert, Economic, Social, Governance and Tourists) and their scale of power-interest influence at different stages of the heritage management process. The findings reveal varying levels of engagement from each of the different groups of stakeholders at each work stage – with Stage 5 (Construction) being the least engaged. Originality/value It is anticipated that through stakeholder preference mapping, heritage teams can increase the robustness of their strategies by identifying and effectively managing the important concepts; heritage teams can effectively manage the interface between the many (often competing) demands of differing stakeholders. Using Georgetown as a case study, the research team were able to delineate the interaction and interplay between the various stakeholders in the complex decision-making processes for a UNESCO heritage site. Applying the RIBA 2013 Plan of Work as a framework to the heritage management process enables a formalised mapping approach to the process.

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