Royal Dutch/Shell in Nigeria Stakeholder Simulation: Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria (SPDC)

Author :

Oana Branzei, David Wheeler

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Teaching Note :


Ivey Publishing


Nigeria, Large




Sustainable Development; Simulation; Joint Ventures; Stakeholder Analysis, General Management/Strategy, International, Mining, Public Administration, Social Advocacy Organizations


The goal of the simulation is to illustrate the challenges in anticipating points of common interest, and the difficulties of overcoming initial antagonistic framing in order to work together to develop novel positions. The simulation illustrates the tensions, trade-offs and challenges involved in mapping and addressing competing stakeholder demands in a long-standing conflict that has players' positions highly polarized. The students are organized in six teams and are asked to take on the position of six different organizations, map the interactions between these six players by taking a specific point of view, and publicly state their position before they begin the engagement exercise. The engagement exercise asks the students to develop and execute a stakeholder engagement strategy by stepping into one of the six roles. Beyond understanding the specific challenges faced by each of the key players, students are asked to highlight their key strategic priorities, map stakeholders' interests and anticipate their changes in position. They are asked to revive or fracture specific relationships as their own interests evolve in ways that best further their own engagement priorities and short or long-term goals. The simulation also opens up a broader platform for exploring the complex dynamics of stakeholder engagement; the delicate balance of stakeholders' power, urgency, and legitimacy; the influence chains that help alter the positions of specific groups; and the logics that enable or hinder constructive collaboration with diverse and/or emerging stakeholders.