How to engage with QH – Steps 5 and 6
What is Stakeholder Engagement?
Stakeholder engagement is a highly relevant activity, an ongoing process, that builds relationships between parties enabling information exchange. This process allows stakeholder affected by decisions of organisation in question to contribute to the decision-making process.
The process of stakeholder engagement is voluntary, open and active dialog, that identifies current position of all parties included, outlines objectives and outcomes, and identifies how to achieve them. Parties that are included in the engagement can change but the process of engagement is continues.
For stakeholder engagement to be effective there are some requirements: willingness and motivation of stakeholders to participate (Gunton et al., 2010); inclusivity of all possible interests (Reed, 2008); equal access to information and knowledge (Gunton et al., 2010; Gopnik et al., 2017). Some barriers in the process of engagement can be identified as well such as: the participation is more tokenistic (cosmetic) rather than active (Pomeroy and Douvere, 2008; Echler et al., 2009; Gopnik et al., 2017; Flannery et al., 2018); unfamiliarity with the processes and activities of the organisation in question (Water, 2018); public can have deeply rooted value and belief system (local fisherman for e.g.) affecting the trust level in organisation in question (Jentoft and Knol, 2013).
The main value of engagement with stakeholders lies in understanding of dialogue dynamics and enabled participation (Luoma-Aho, 2015). Generally, engagement is referred as interaction between stakeholders and organisation where interaction influences stakeholder thoughts, actions and emotions toward organisation (Broodie et al., 2011). The benefits of quadruple helix stakeholder engagement by development of collaborative network are evident through access to knowledge, development of scientific competence, obtaining competitive advantage through acceleration of ideas, but significant challenges still remain: how to manage such relationships.
Stakeholder engagement – role of QH in GRRIP
Quadruple helix stakeholders for GRRIP project represent a group of all stakeholders in one place with function of reflecting societal needs. They are expected to participate in development (co-create) action plan for RRI interventions within demo sites. They will serve as a reflection group where sites will demonstrate openness with QH. Through mutual learning and interaction QH will support demo sites in development of sustainable inclusion of QH involvement. Role of QH in GRRIP project is to co and includes several points.
Throughout QH engagement this reflexive working group will support institutionalising RRI and ensure that it is reflective to societal needs throughout the process.
Step 5: Respond and implement
The fifth step of meaningful stakeholder engagement is to respond and implement. After the organisation is completed the consultation with stakeholders, analysis of obtained date should be completed. What suggestions were presented, any concerns raised and what are the priorities that need to be addressed. In order to manage identified issues, you should follow simple steps:
- Initial outline of measures to manage issue
- Assess measures to manage issue: time; cost; capacity; effectiveness
- Consult with stakeholders and organisation department re-measures
- Develop management plan: objectives; measures; responsibilities; targets
- Monitor and evaluate progress and adjust necessary
Step 6: Monitor, evaluate and document
The final stage of stakeholder engagement is monitoring, evaluation and documentation. There are various international standards available to be used as a reference point, this should be done by case study working group (broker), some of possible steps are represented in Box 2. Lessons learned will drive future engagement and are a critical aspect of stakeholder engagement process.
This process of evaluation and feedback by stakeholders will be used for adaptation of action plans developed by site and also to tailor the RRI interventions.
Monitoring and evaluation is an ongoing process, and documenting, reporting and clear record keeping will enable strengthening of stakeholder relationships with the organisation. Appropriate feedback to stakeholders is necessary in order to keep the interested into organisation and also to ensure fair relationship with stakeholders. The quality of relationship with stakeholders can vary over time and it is important to regularly review the state of relationships and level of their satisfaction. There should be at list a yearly survey by independent party including baseline data and standard questions to allow benchmarking. Through the survey organisation can evaluate satisfaction level of engaged stakeholders and adjust their engagement process if necessary.
To read the rest of the 6 steps recommended by the GRRIP Project follow the links below: