9th Conference European Sociological Association

RN20 Qualitative Methods

2009-09-05 11:00:00 2009-09-05 12:30:00 Saturday, 5 September 11:00 - 12:30 Innovative Analysis Building II, B2.01

Timeline Stakeholder Analysis (TSA) in innovation projects

Timeline Stakeholder Analysis (TSA), a qualitative and process-focused method, is based on Timeline Interviews (Wastian & Schneider, 2005), using a digital whiteboard as visualization tool. The primary purpose of TSA is to identify important stakeholders and their roles (e.g., promoters versus incubators) as well as to analyze critical interaction situations among stakeholders in the course of projects.
The Timeline Interview technique draws upon Rogers? (1945) person-centered conversation and Flanagan?s (1954) critical incident technique. It allows for getting started in a structured way but also for the interviewee to describe one specific project in a non-constrained, open manner, remembering the process details step by step. Thus, the interview technique takes into account the temporal progression of the project and the selective and slowly emerging memory of the interviewee.
One specific feature of TSA is the visualization of the project, utilizing a digital whiteboard. A project is reviewed as it proceeds along its specific stages. The interviewee is asked to write down important situations and stakeholders on digital cards and to put the cards on a timeline that is depicted on the whiteboard. These situations are then described in greater detail. After this, a high-low-curve is drawn on the whiteboard by the interviewee. This is to depict the subjective evaluation of the project progress. Following this curve, highs, lows, and turning points during the project are explored.
The interviewee thus deeply reflects on critical incidents concerning interactions among important stakeholders. Both transcript and the visualization on the whiteboard of the interview are analyzed and then validated by subject matter experts in interviews and workshops.
We present the results of a field study on innovation projects in order to illustrate the use of TSA.
Unlike conventional stakeholder analyses applied in project management (Caupin et al., 2006), our approach is dynamic and process-oriented. We expect TSA to improve the methods and timing for stakeholder integration in innovation projects, thus contributing to process quality and success of innovation projects.