Integrating Stakeholders in Economic and Social Decision Making

Integrating Stakeholders in Economic and Social Decision Making:
Developing Model for the Sultanate of Oman
center571500
By
Ahmed Khalfan Al Raqadi
Student ID # PM20655
PhD Proposal
Submitted to
Prof. Dr. Salina binti….
College of Graduate Business Studies
Uniten, Putrajaya, Malaysia
11.04.2018

Table of Contents
TOC o “1-3” h z u Introduction PAGEREF _Toc511212327 h 31.Background PAGEREF _Toc511212328 h 52.Problem statement and contribution PAGEREF _Toc511212329 h 83.Significance of research PAGEREF _Toc511212330 h 124.Operational definitions PAGEREF _Toc511212331 h 12Review of literature PAGEREF _Toc511212332 h 17Methodology of research PAGEREF _Toc511212333 h 26Methods PAGEREF _Toc511212334 h 26Expected Outcomes PAGEREF _Toc511212335 h 30

Introduction
Over the decades, the Omani economy has been depending heavily on oil and gas as the main sources of national income, hence, the government maintained a sustained economic growth until the recent sharp decline in oil prices, which affected the economic growth of Oman due to not having enough financial buffers and other sources of income. The country sees little end in sight; with increased level of unemployment still rampant in all provinces and insufficient investments from the private sector due to the absence of economic diversification plans and the lack of involving all the stakeholders in the development process.
Hashim and Lukic (2011) argue that it is highlighted that the main purpose of public participation is to offer the public an opportunity to participate in the decision making process of related stakeholder engagement in development plans. It is generally agreed among development practitioners that community participation is needed to have long-term results and sustainability in development projects (Mikkelsen cited in Laura Parrott, 2011:7). Therefore, public and community participation in economic and decision-making can be linked to development, which can solve the problem of centralized pattern of decision making and the dependency on one source of national income. This relationship highlights the importance of integrating stakeholders in decision-making process and therefore contributes to the realization of development national plans.
In spite of the fact governments appreciates the importance of stakeholders involvement in social and economic decision making process and its relationship with sustainable development, only a little of this appreciation has been witnessed in our present time it is not in line with current situation of the free market. The exclusion of this crucial element in decision-making process at the level of government, not only delays the effective implementation of development projects, but also more specifically deepens the existing gap between the government, private sector and civil society. Nowadays, it is noted that the social and economic decision-making process takes place without consulting the stakeholders including the private sector and civil society.

Particularly in Oman, the concept of shared decision-making and national development by the people and the government has always been evident in Sultan Qaboos’ political thinking. His Majesty states:
The success of a development and achievement of its goals is a collaborative action between three parties, the government, the private sector, and the citizens. Each of them should do its duties with the highest spirit of responsibility, whereby nations do not fall short of the levels of development and progress if it exists, but fall down to backwardness and under-development if it is abandoned.
The sultan’s speeches and instructions are obvious to all the parties and agencies of development in Oman. The private sector and civil society need to work hand in hand with the government on all levels to effectively achieve the common objectives. The government policies always focus on the involvement of the private sector and civil society to contribute to the development of the nation, in fact, senior government officers always argue that Oman has been dependent on oil for its progress and this dependence come to end soon. The government has to keep pumping in resources to stabilise the economy. However, it should let the private sector make itself more robust by taking on leadership role in years to come. However, in reality there is a gap between policies and implementations.
Specific research should be done on how stakeholders including the private sector and civil society can be integrated in the economic and social decision-making process in Oman. Therefore, the motivation of this research came to existence in how stakeholders, including private sector and civil community in Oman can work together with the government in order to achieve the country’s visions and plans, in particular vision 2040. Through understanding the importance of integrating stakeholders in economic and social decision making, we can fine tune the current strategies and increase the development and progress effectiveness of the country.

BackgroundOman has been transformed from a traditional tribal based economy to modern based economy under the leadership of Sultan Qaboos bin Said since he came to rule in 1970. He allocated the revenues from oil and gas industry, which represent more than 72% of the national revenues, for the development of infrastructure, education, health, and social development. This helped Oman, in a short time, to become a country with high-income status, which is attractive to investors and labour from all parts of the world. Therefore, the country has maintained a sustained economic growth over the years.
This radical change did not come from nothing. Sultan Qaboos and his governmental team have made great efforts to develop short and long-term economic plans and strategies in order to accelerate the economic development as well as ensure stability and wealth distribution among the people. In order to achieve this, two plans were developed. The 1st Five Years Development plan was initiated from 1976 with primary focus on infrastructure, education, health, and security ; defence, whereas the 2nd Development Plan, which was initiated in 1996 and known as “Oman vision 2020” focused on economic diversification, promoting private sector’s role in economic growth, and human capital development. These two plans have been implemented in five years sub-plans, with the support of specialised governmental agencies.
Looking at the ongoing progress under the second plan, it is worth nothing that there are some problems and challenges that slow down the speed of economic and social development in many sectors. According to Forbes magazine, the main problem is that the government still depends on oil and gas sales for the vast majority of its income at a time oil prices are low and, in any case, the wells will run dry in less than 20 years unless new sources are found. In addition, the international calls for reducing dependency on oil due to its high volatility in the global market and its negative impacts of the economies of oil exporting countries including Oman are taken for granted by the policy makers.
According to khaleej times, the fall in oil prices in Oman have dropped by more than 60% because oil prices have plunged from about 100 USD a barrel to below 40 USD since mid-2014, leaving behind the oil exporting countries facing a serious challenges at the political, economic, and social levels.
Oman vision 2020 was at risk as the government faced an embarrassing situation because an urgent revision of the national budget was necessary. Tough decisions and austerity measures were took to save the national budget and the economy from recession, but it had negative effects on development because some essential infrastructure projects were delayed, main subsidiaries were cut down, and human capital development was sacrificed. In other words, the main derivers of the achievement of the economic development become quite difficult and 2020 vision has become even far-reaching, hence, it was carried forward to the long-term or future vision (Oman 2040).
The economic crisis not only slows down the development plans but also inflames the anger of the unemployed youth who stood up for their rights, for the first time, against the government. Young Omanis staged protests across the country in 2011 to demand jobs, and the government responded by creating 50,000 state jobs in 12 months.
However, that was a temporary solution to a fundamental problem, which exists until our present time. The fall in international oil crises followed by austerity measures taken by the government to recover the economy and the wide gap between the supply of graduates and the demand of the local market have created a state of confusion among the public about the efficiency of the economic diversification programme, that was initiated to create value for the economy and people.
The recent demonstrations of jobless graduates was a clear message to the policy-makers who have become aware of the mistakes they have made so far, and that they have to change their way of thinking towards the means of achieving economic development due to the continuous pressure from the people who believe that change is timely and it must come bottom-line.

Stakeholders
An open dialogue with stakeholders other than the agencies of the regime should be the backbone of decision-making process. Generally, stakeholders can be thought of as all those (from individuals through groups of individuals to the organization) who have some impact on the social and economic life, respectively are in some direct or indirect ways influenced by the social and economic decisions CITATION Kat12 l 1033 (Drinikova, 2012).
The government of Oman should behave in a responsible way; in particular, to adopt a responsible approach towards the other stakeholders from the private sector and the society, as they are reliable partners in the decision making process and their satisfaction is beneficial not only to the government but to the entire country. It is not possible to consider the state as merely means which serves public interest, but it should be perceived as a groups of stakeholders whose interests, needs, and power affects the decision making process. Hence, the government should work hand in hand with all other stakeholders groups in order to know, respect, and manage, and accommodate their interests, needs, and opinions.
There are many definitions of stakeholders. The definition given by Edward Freeman, the father of stakeholder theory remains one of the most famous classic definitions. He defined stakeholders as “those who can affect or is affected by the achievements of the organization’s objectives” CITATION And06 l 1033 (Andrew L. Friedman, 2006). In addition, the term “stakeholder” may be understood as any actor – institution, group or individual – with an interest or a role to play in a societal decision-making process.

Some examples of key stakeholders are the government and its agencies, private sector including businessmen, academicians, and the local community from which the businesses draws its resources. There are three steps to manage the stakeholder and ensure success of their involvement in social and economic decision-making process.

The first step is to identify the stakeholders concerned with social and economic decision making in Oman. As part of this, we should take into account all the organizations and people who are affected by the social and economic decision-making process, and have influence or power over it, or have an interest in its successful or unsuccessful conclusion.

It is necessary in the second step to list all people and organizations that are affected by the decision making process. Some may have the power either to block or to advance. Some may be interested in what the government is doing, others may not care. Thus, we need to clearly specify the most interested stakeholders, classify them by their power and interest in the decision making process.
The focus in the third step is to develop a good understanding of the most important stakeholders so that we know, how they are likely to respond, and so that we can work out how to involve them in decision-making process.
In this study, we will benchmark the Omani current involvement of stakeholders in social and economic decision-making process against the best practices of both the Social and Economic Council of the Netherlands (SER), and the Singaporean consultative and advisory committees. The latter consists of three groups, the first group consists of members representing employers, the second consists of members representing unions, and the third consists of independent or ‘Crown’ members appointed by the Government whose representatives are observers due to their expertise in certain areas. The main task of the SER is to advise the cabinet and ensure that the SER considers not only the interests of employers and employees, but also the public interest.
On the other hand, Singapore prefers to employ the use of consultative, advisory committees, formed periodically to review Singapore’s development progress, and chart future policies to enhance the socio-economic well-being of residents in Singapore. These are not purely technocratic, expert committees, but they are intended also to project an element of representation and legitimacy.

Problem statement and contribution In government organizations, bureaucratic rationale, centralized decision-making and risk averse culture still prevails in Oman CITATION Hun06 l 1033 (Hunter, 2006). Decision making process is centralised at the hand of highly ranked policy makers who represent the regime. The consultative council, state council, and regional councils represent different categories of people at the level of decision-making process. They can transfer only part but not all the opinions and demands of the people well as they do not have a strong different opinion or independent consultant, which enables them to convince the regime to make change and fulfil the real needs of the society. Research in stakeholder engagement in national development, with major focus on Oman, confirms the inherent weaknesses in process and effectiveness, inclined towards limited consensus on basic requirements needed to realize an effective engagement process.
There is an ongoing debate on how to involve effective stakeholder engagement in decision-making process. Academicians and practitioners are faced with the task of identifying and applying requirements that ensure engagement of stakeholders achieves its intended objectives. In searching for effective approaches, there is need to identify stakeholder issues and how to involve them in social and economic decision-making process in order to be able to contribute to the implementation of national projects and plans that can be usefully applied to ensure that the issues raised are adequately considered in mega projects decisions.

Although the output of the research is specific to the economic and social decision making through integrating stakeholders, the findings are expected to contribute to the debate on the constituents of effective engagement during decision-making process. Such debate should provide due regard for aspects of the scope and effectiveness of stakeholder engagement that can be applied to improve the theory and practice of stakeholder engagement towards enhancing its value.

Several studies in the involvement of stakeholders in decision-making literature indicated that stakeholders are those categories of individuals or organizations that have a stake in an organization, based on freeman’s stakeholder theory (1984), which acknowledges that stakeholders are individuals or groups who are influenced by or have an influence on the activities of the organization CITATION Mor10 l 1033 (Mori, 2010). The involvement of stakeholders in economic and social decision-making process had been widely addressed by several authors especially at the corporate level (Alawi, 2015, Drinikova, 2012, Ahmed, 2016, Mori, 2010). It has been suggested that corporations needs to know, respect, and manage all stakeholders’ interests and to engage or involve at least the key stakeholders to decision-making process. Ahmed (2016) affirmed that it is important to implement a complex model of decision-making (CMD) which recognises the inputs of other stakeholders as well as environmental factors in decision making process, while Mori (2010) added that putting more confidence and trust on stakeholders will improve the decesion process, which is an integral part of performance and survival of the company.
On the other hand, the issue of stakeholders’ involvment in decesion making process at the goverenemt level had been discussed by some authors (Gomes, 2006, Proctor, 2011, Holmes, 2011, Beach, S, Brown, KA & Keast, 2009). It is theoritized that interest in and activity associated with engaging stakeholders by public agencies will continue to grow. ADDIN CSL_CITATION { “citationItems” : { “id” : “ITEM-1”, “itemData” : { “DOI” : “10.1590/S1807-76922006000100005”, “ISBN” : “1807-7692”, “ISSN” : “1415-6555”, “abstract” : “The stakeholder theory has been in the management agenda for about thirty years and reservations about its acceptance as a comprehensive theory still remains. It was introduced as a managerial issue by the Labour Party in 1997 aiming to make public management more inclusive. This article aims to contribute to the stakeholder theory adding descriptive issues to its theoretical basis. The findings are derived from an inductive investigation carried out with English Local Authorities, which will most likely be reproduced in other contexts. Data collection and analysis is based on a data triangulation method that involves case-studies, interviews of validation and analysis of documents. The investigation proposes a model for representing the nature of the relationships between stakeholders and the decision-making process of such organizations. The decision-making of local government organizations is in fact a stakeholder-based process in which stakeholders are empowered to exert influences due to power over and interest in the organization’s operations and outcomes. PUBLICATION ABSTRACT”, “author” : { “dropping-particle” : “”, “family” : “Gomes”, “given” : “Ricardo Corru00eaa”, “non-dropping-particle” : “”, “parse-names” : false, “suffix” : “” } , “container-title” : “BAR. Brazilian Administration Review”, “id” : “ITEM-1”, “issue” : “1”, “issued” : { “date-parts” : “2006” }, “page” : “46-63”, “title” : “Stakeholder management in the local government decision-making area: evidences from a triangulation study with the English local government”, “type” : “article-journal”, “volume” : “3” }, “uris” : “http://www.mendeley.com/documents/?uuid=95b3388a-8c3e-444f-b10a-5e8475882fe7” } , “mendeley” : { “formattedCitation” : “(Gomes, 2006)”, “manualFormatting” : “Gomes (2006)”, “plainTextFormattedCitation” : “(Gomes, 2006)”, “previouslyFormattedCitation” : “(Gomes, 2006)” }, “properties” : { }, “schema” : “https://github.com/citation-style-language/schema/raw/master/csl-citation.json” }Gomes (2006) affirmed that if stakeholder identification, classification and engagement style are linked, it will offer a systematic way for agencies to minimise wasted effort and resources associated with inappropriate or poorly targeted engagement processes. ADDIN CSL_CITATION { “citationItems” : { “id” : “ITEM-1”, “itemData” : { “ISBN” : “1834-9854”, “ISSN” : “1834-9854”, “abstract” : “In many democracies, citizen participation in policymaking and service design has been debated or attempted, but too infrequently realised. Genuine enagement in the ‘co-production’ of policy and services requires major shifts in the culture and operations of government and agencies. It demands of public servants new skills as enablers, negotiators and collaborators. It demands of citizens an orientation to the public good, a willingness to actively engange and the capabilities needed to participate and deliberate well. These are tall orders, especially if citizens are disengaged and certain groups within the population are marginalised. Most especially, effective engagement by citizen-centric public service requires political support for the genuine devolution of power and decision-making to frontline public servants and professionals- and to the citizens and stakeholders with whom they engage. Ministeres and agency heads have a jajor leadership responsibility here.”, “author” : { “dropping-particle” : “”, “family” : “Holmes”, “given” : “Brenton”, “non-dropping-particle” : “”, “parse-names” : false, “suffix” : “” } , “container-title” : “Policy”, “id” : “ITEM-1”, “issue” : “1”, “issued” : { “date-parts” : “2011” }, “page” : “1-45”, “title” : “Citizens ‘ engagement in policymaking and the design of public services”, “type” : “article-journal” }, “uris” : “http://www.mendeley.com/documents/?uuid=a6e7f4f3-c549-471c-ac8c-dd0d37ecd6c7” } , “mendeley” : { “formattedCitation” : “(Holmes, 2011)”, “manualFormatting” : “Holmes (2011)”, “plainTextFormattedCitation” : “(Holmes, 2011)”, “previouslyFormattedCitation” : “(Holmes, 2011)” }, “properties” : { }, “schema” : “https://github.com/citation-style-language/schema/raw/master/csl-citation.json” }Holmes (2011) argues that placing citizens as agents at the top consideration agenda of policy makers has bcome an increasingly concern, and a pursuit of sustained collaboration between government agencies, non-government organisations, communities and individual citizens should improve to face the current challenges. ADDIN CSL_CITATION { “citationItems” : { “id” : “ITEM-1”, “itemData” : { “author” : { “dropping-particle” : “”, “family” : “Beach”, “given” : “Sandra”, “non-dropping-particle” : “”, “parse-names” : false, “suffix” : “” }, { “dropping-particle” : “”, “family” : “Brown”, “given” : “Kerry A”, “non-dropping-particle” : “”, “parse-names” : false, “suffix” : “” }, { “dropping-particle” : “”, “family” : “Keast”, “given” : “Robyn L”, “non-dropping-particle” : “”, “parse-names” : false, “suffix” : “” } , “container-title” : “13th International Research Society for Public Management Conference (IRSPM XIII)”, “id” : “ITEM-1”, “issue” : “Irspm Xiii”, “issued” : { “date-parts” : “2009” }, “page” : “6-8”, “title” : “Staking a claim : the role of stakeholders in government”, “type” : “article-journal” }, “uris” : “http://www.mendeley.com/documents/?uuid=11b17ef4-5108-45a5-ade6-6fa8a4e42df9” } , “mendeley” : { “formattedCitation” : “(Beach, Brown, ; Keast, 2009)”, “manualFormatting” : “Beach, Brown, ; Keast (2009)”, “plainTextFormattedCitation” : “(Beach, Brown, ; Keast, 2009)”, “previouslyFormattedCitation” : “(Beach, Brown, ; Keast, 2009)” }, “properties” : { }, “schema” : “https://github.com/citation-style-language/schema/raw/master/csl-citation.json” }Beach, Brown, & Keast (2009) suggested that we should take into account all the various stakeholders in a collaborative way, then we will be able to achieve a better outcome. In other words, this shift has involved a move away from an expert-driven to a stakeholder needs driven approach so that governnement agencies can work towards the right solution, rather than imposing one.
There have been extensive literature reviews done on stakeholder and decesion making literature, but only few have studied the integration of stakeholders in social and decesion making process at the governement level, not to mention that the literature of the relationshhip between stakeholders invlovment in social and economic decesion making in the Sultanate of Oman is either partially studied from micro-perspective, or scarce, or outdated. Therefore, this study aims to address the integration of all stakeholders in social and economic decision making process in Oman from a macro-perspective, whereby a comprehensive concept of integrating all the current scattered stakeholders under one umbrella will be deveopled as an efficient mecahnism to achieve 2040 vision.
It is against this background that the aim of the study is guided by the following research question:
Research questions
What is the status of stakeholders’ involvement and their role in social and economic decision-making process in Oman?
What is the gap level of stakeholders’ involvement in Oman when compared to international best practices, mainly the Social and Economic Council of the Netherlands?
What is the proposed alternative model of enhancing the involvement of stakeholders in social and economic decision-making?
How effective this alternative model will enhance the involvement of stakeholders in decision making process and contributing to the achievement of national plans and visions?
What are the possible positive impacts of this model in the economic and social development in the country?
Purpose of Research
Stakeholder literature has focused on the understanding of stakeholders’ influences in different settings and contexts in an attempt to move from looking at singular relationships between an organisation and one stakeholder to looking at the macro relationships between stakeholders and the government with regard to being involved in economic and social decision-making process.
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Based on a particular interest in the concepts underpinning Freeman?s (1984) theory, I wanted to investigate the importance of stakeholder theory from a macro perspective rather than the usual micro one, in order to make a useful contribution to the area of social and economic decision-making process in Oman, by developing a comprehensive model to integrate all stakeholders under one umbrella that would meet the challenges discussed above.

The aim of this research is to identify the status and improve the level of engagement and effectiveness of stakeholder engagement in social and economic decision-making process in Oman.
To evaluate the present involvement of stakeholders in social and decision-making process.

To benchmark stakeholders’ involvement in decision making process in Oman against other international best practices.

To develop a new model of engaging stakeholders in decision-making process.

To assess the effectiveness of the new model develop in the study.

Significance of research This research has three theoretical contributions to enable the researchers to better understand the relationship of stakeholders and social and economic decision-making process. First, this research is among the first to recognize the importance of the integration of various stakeholders, particularly the government, private sector and community in social and economic decision-making process. Second, The research findings will provide evidence that the development of a comprehensive model, which incorporate all the various stakeholders under one umbrella in Oman will aid the government to arrive at a robust outcomes of the decision making process. The study expands the stakeholder theory to include the macro level of decision-making process. Third, it will be beneficial for scholars because the findings are expected to be different from previous researches. This research would also have a benefit in academic research because the variables in focus will be studied from different perspective.
as well as seeks to contribute to the very little literature with regard to the relationship between stakeholders and social and economic decision-making process, especially in Oman.
The major practical contribution provided by this research is to develop a model of the integration of stakeholders in decision-making process from a macro perspective, especially in Oman to help decision makers and those concerned with development programmes to identify the problems and challenges they face and find big fast solutions to it. In addition, the study offers important implications for policy makers to understand how engagement of stakeholders will satisfy the needs of the people and contribute to the development of the country.

Operational definitions Stakeholder theory
Edward Freeman is known to be the father of stakeholder theory, as he was the first author to develop this theory. Numerous authors cited and are still citing definitions and meanings of this theory from his classic book, Strategic Management: A Stakeholder Approach (Freeman, 1984).
A stakeholder is classically defined as “any group or individual who can affect or is affected by the achievement of the organization’s objectives” (Freeman 1984). The demonstration here is that the idea of the Stakeholder concept is meant to redefine the organization. In general, the concept is about what the organization should be and how it should be conceptualized. Friedman (2006) considers the organization to be a group of stakeholders, which is able to manage their interests, needs and viewpoints. Firms’ Managers should fulfil stakeholder management, as they should on the one hand manage the corporation for the benefit of its stakeholders in order to ensure their rights and the participation in decision making and on the other hand the management must act as the stockholder’s agent to ensure the survival of the firm to safeguard the long term stakes of each group.

In one of his latest publications Freeman (2004) adds a new principle, which reflects a new trend in stakeholder theory. In this principle in his opinion, the consideration of the perspective of the stakeholders themselves and their activities is also very important to be taken into the management of companies. He states “The principle of stakeholder recourse. Stakeholders may bring an action against the directors for failure to perform the required duty of care” (Freeman 2004).

As the stakeholder concept boomed, a lot of different definitions of stakeholder were developed thanks to literature written about the topic. The use of the stakeholder approach in big variety of context brings some criticism to the concept with it Friedman (2006) mentions:
That group of writers comes to coalesce around particular social constructions of reality, leading to writers referring to stakeholders without being aware of relevant theoretical issues that have been raised in other literatures.

Roberts and Mahoney (2004) have examined 125 accounting studies that used the stakeholder language and found that nearly 65 percent “use the term stakeholder without reference to any version of stakeholder theory”. The important thing is that writers use the same label to refer to a lot different concepts. This of course can have great consequences on ethical, policy, and strategic conclusions.

Freeman (1984) defines stakeholders as “any group or individual who can affect or is affected by the achievement of the organization objectives”. About twenty of the 75 definitions share this definition. Friedman (2006) states that this definition is more balanced and much broader than the definition
A very common way of differentiating the different kinds of stakeholders is to consider groups of people who have classifiable relationships with the organization. Friedman (2006) means that there is a clear relationship between definitions of what stakeholders and identification of who are the stakeholders. The main groups of stakeholders are customers, Employees, Local communities, Suppliers and distributors, Shareholders
In addition, other groups and individuals are considered stakeholders in the literature of Friedman (2006): The media, the public in general, business partners, academics, NGOs or activists – considered individually, stakeholder representatives, Stakeholder representatives such as trade unions or trade associations of suppliers or distributors, government, regulators, policymakers
Stakeholder involvement
Stakeholder engagement is defined by the International Association of Impact Assessment (IAIA), cited in Chi et al. (2013:3), as the “involvement of individuals and groups that are positively or negatively affected by, or that are interested in, a proposed project, programme, plan or policy that is subject to a decision making process”. Engagement and participation is considered in this case to be a communicative and interactive process where individuals, groups and organizations choose to take an active role to influence and impact on decisions that affect them (Rowe et al., 2004; Wandersman, 1981; Wilcox, 2003). Stakeholder engagement, therefore, presents an opportunity for individuals, groups and organizations to be involved actively in shaping decisions that affect them.

Bureaucracy, centralized power, absence of credibility and transparency issues are serious issues in our present time. In all these areas, there is an increasing demand for stakeholder involvement (participation or engagement). Managers in both the public and private sector find that such involvement can improve the quality and the sustainability of decision-making process at economic and social levels. Policy decisions. Best practice in government decision making process has therefore shifted from the traditional “decide, announce and defend” model, for which the focus was almost exclusively on technical content, to one of “engage, interact and co-operate”, for which both technical content and quality of process are of comparable importance (Kotra, 2000). Time spent on dialoguing and bringing stakeholder input into the organisation and into the decision-making process is now understood as indispensable well-spent time.

Stakeholder involvement is an integral part of a stepwise process of decision-making process. Involvement may take the form of sharing information, consulting, dialoguing or deliberating on decisions. It should always be seen as a meaningful part of formulating and implementing good policy. Specific involvement initiatives may be seen as part of an ongoing relationship among the different societal partners who are concerned by issues relating to social and economic decision-making process. Stakeholder involvement approaches should not be viewed as convenient tools for public relations, stakeholder management, image building, or winning acceptance for a decision taken behind closed doors.

Practitioners and scholars are developing, applying, and evaluating various approaches for stakeholder involvement. There is a vast range of approaches, as well as a great number of publications describing them. New horizons are opened as experience with social media grows. This short guide aims to help non- specialists form an idea of what is needed to choose an approach and find their way to pertinent documents.

Sustainable development:
The concept of sustainable development was introduced through the World Conservation Strategy (WCS) developed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) to promote the idea of environmental protection centred on human interests (Institute for Sustainable Development, 1997). The Brundtl and Commission formalized the concept and characterized it as a development approach seeking to meet the needs of the present and future generations (WCED, 1987). The concept gained greater political acceptance at the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) held in Johannesburg. More recently, the United Nations has further ratified this concept by basing its future developmental goals on the concept, as characterized by the recent upgrade from Millennium Development Goals to Sustainable Development Goals.

The sustainable development concept states that developmental decisions should be made according to the three pillars of the ‘triple bottom line’ (TBL), namely environmental, social and economic factors (Brennan, 2013). O’Riordan (2000) and George (1999) expressed concern on the broadness of the concept as it does not allow for precision in application and measurement, which can result in it being a popular description to achieve any desired goal. To streamline the concept Nieslony (2004) suggested that practical application should consider the following criteria: achieving consensus through participation, empowering of stakeholders, reducing cumulative, indirect and long term impacts, and integrating ecological, economic and social decision-making.

Decision making process
Decision-making is considered as the cognitive process leading in the selection of a course of action among diverse competing alternative possibilities. It entails the process of identifying and choosing options anchored on the ideals and inclinations of the personality making the decision. It is always believed that every decision-making process generates an ultimate choice that may or may not stimulate a course of action.

In particular, decision-making Process according to Elbanna (2007) refers to a set of well-tailored actions through which strategic challenges are identified, interpreted, tackled and solved. The truth behind any concrete strategic decision making process is the complex nature of the activity. Hart (1992) contends that it involves numerous incompatible interests, takes a long time, and faces many interruptions, delays and disruptions shaped by environmental factors, decision specific and decision makers’ factors. Advocates of stakeholder theory believe that having heterogeneous stakeholder representatives on boards is a critical weapon in promoting sound relationship with the organization (Hillman, et al., 2001 and Mori 2010).

Review of literature After an intensive reading on the stakeholder theory and stakeholders’ integration in decision-making process at both the corporate and government level, we have selected some studies, which are most relevant to our study in order to further understand stakeholders’ integration in decision-making process within different context in an attempt to explore the latest theoretical contributions and missing gaps in the stakeholders’ literature based on which a model of stakeholders’ integration in social and economic decision making process would be proposed for the government of Oman.

Economic and social development entails democratic approaches to decision-making which rely on giving an opportunity to those interested in, and affected by, a development initiative, to inform development decisions at relevant and successive stages of a development proposal (Fischer, 2000).Those with interest in and affected by a development proposal, referred to as stakeholders, are involved to provide information on the natural social and economic context of potential impacts arising from a development (World Bank, 1991), to aid analysis for distribution of costs and benefits of a development. Adequate social and economic context likely to be impacted can be improved through engagement of stakeholders, which as Wood (2003) stated can be undertaken through a “bottom either-up or top-down approach”.
The adequacy of stakeholder engagement and the effectiveness of approaches used have been identified by practitioners and scholars as influencing the realization of the important benefits of development and the turning of decision making process into implementable activities with more opportunities. As stakeholder engagement intends to improve communication between stakeholders towards better decision making and obtain sustainable outcomes, input from stakeholders in this context seeks to satisfy the economic and social development.

First, in his study under the title “Stakeholder management in the local government decision-making area: evidences from a triangulation study with the English local government”, Gomez (2009) investigated the established relationship between between local government organizations and the stakeholders able to participate in their decision-making process by having either power to influence this organization’s decision-making or a stake in the organization’s operations and outcomes. To achieve this, he carried out an inductive investigation on English Local Authorities.
The author found out that stakeholder influences in local government decision-making could be classified into three categories: The nature of stakeholder participation in decision-making; the basis of the participation, which defines the basis of the influence of stakeholders in decision-making; and the sources of influence where the environment stakeholder influences come from. It was evident in this study that, in the local government context, stakeholder influences come about in clusters through which different stakeholders are likely to exert similar influences. This introduces a new approach in stakeholder management because managers would be able to set the same strategy for dealing with different stakeholders.

The theoretical contribution of this study to literature is that a power-influence model has been developed with a detailed description of how stakeholder participated in local government decision-making. Meanwhile, as an empirical contribution to the stakeholder theory, the model indicates a set of stakeholder influences that are both technically and institutionally based. Influences stem from both powers and interests, which induce a stakeholder to participate in this process. By pointing out clusters of influences, the model also raises an instrumental contribution to stakeholder management because it identifies alternatives for dealing with stakeholders as either individuals or groups. Finally, the model indicates the whole set of categories representing stakeholder influences for which local government has to be held accountable.
In general, this model represents the nature of the relationships between stakeholders and the decision-making process of local governments, to the extent that their decision-making process is in fact a stakeholder-based process in which stakeholders are empowered to exert influences due to power over and interest in the organization’s operations and outcomes.
This study is useful to us because it addressed the issue of stakeholder integration in decision-making process at the level of local governments in England. Yet, we could benchmark against this model in order to investigate the status of stakeholders involvement in social and decision-making process in Oman and the missing gaps in this context. This study will also help us to develop a model of stakeholder’s integration in the decision making process in the context of Oman which could be different from the one developed in the current study.
Second, in his thesis “The Practical Application of Stakeholder Networking Theory in the New Zealand Public Sector”, Proctor (2011) investigated whether the theory of stakeholder networking can contribute to strategic planning in the public sector. It was argued that stakeholder networking theory could be applied in the public sector to assist managers in some aspects of the strategic planning process. Issues that arose in the application of stakeholder networking theory were identified and have been factored into the design of the proposed Stakeholder Networking Framework. This is a flexible nine-step framework for managers to conduct each step in a way that suits the needs and objectives of their organisation. Therefore, Managers can then use the stakeholder network maps as outputs of the process to inform relationship management activities and strategic decision-making. The findings go beyond simply supporting the use of stakeholder networking theory for strategic planning; they provide practical advice for organisations on how to apply it.
This study could be beneficial for us as we are seeking for new ways to expand the body of knowledge that continues to define the possibilities of stakeholder theory for creating organisational value. The study was very much focussed on the planning aspects of strategy rather than putting this strategy into practice. Here it comes the connexion with our study in the sense that we can extend beyond the theoretical aspects of stakeholder networking and look at how decision makers might mobilise links or develop strategic relationships they have identified from the stakeholder networks theory. And whether these identified opportunities actually create organisation value in reality? There might be regularly identified opportunities from stakeholder network maps that are more effective for achieving strategic goals, such as targeting stakeholders that are centrally located in the network with many connections.
Third, a study under the title “Stakeholder and Citizen Roles in Public Deliberation” conducted by David Kahane (2013) explored the complexity of the distinction between individual participants (‘citizens’) and representatives of organized groups (stakeholder representatives) referred to in this research as ‘stakeholders’ in the deliberative democratic theory and practice.
The findings showed that there is a complex relationship between the design of deliberations and their outcomes. Replicating a process that was successful in one context will not necessarily be effective in another. Significant differences exist from one community to another, which will affect the effectiveness of a deliberative process (e.g., personalities, leadership, temperaments, community history, and cultural norms). Moreover, evaluating the effectiveness of various configurations of public deliberation is a major gap in deliberative theory and practice.
This study is beneficial to us because it showed the main issues of involving citizens and stakeholders in public participation processes convened by government as part of policy development. This research will help us to reflect on how decision makers in Oman can best operate within constraints to integrate stakeholder and citizen elements in order to meet the needs of their context. This speaks to details of process design such as preparation, briefings, various types and formats of ‘inputs’ to the deliberation (whether written, multimedia, or in person; and whether expert or stakeholder or citizen speakers), facilitation, and which aspects of group dynamics to bring to the fore explicitly in process.
This study explored theoretical and practical distinctions between individual citizens and organized groups in public participation processes convened by government as part of policy development. Within this context, the author examined both normative and practical reasons why practitioners may lean toward, or away from, recruiting citizens, stakeholders, or both to take part in deliberations, and how citizen and stakeholder roles can be separated or combined within a process. This makes this study very important to us in the sense that it will help us to develop our own model of stakeholders’ integration in the social and economic decision-making process at the level of government level in Oman.

Fourth, the study entitled “Pulp and Friction – Engaging with stakeholders: A case study from Latin America” aimed to develop a dynamic model for stakeholder prioritization in an international context and to explore what criteria are used by a Finnish company in prioritizing stakeholders in a foreign environment. This dynamic model suggested that companies should manage their stakeholder prioritization process by following three steps: 1) identify stakeholders in a country, company and industry specific context, 2) define stakeholder interests considering the cultural aspect, and 3) prioritize stakeholders based on their strategic importance, salience and influence strategies.
The main implication of the findings of this study is that stakeholders are prioritized based on the strategic importance of each stakeholder or a group of stakeholders. It was also indicated that companies should use at least two criterion proactively when prioritizing stakeholders within a dynamic and a culturally distinct environment. AUTHOR “(Kosonen 2008)” (Kosonen 2008).
Al though the context of this study is different, but there are some similarities with our study in the sense that we can benefit from this dynamic model to enhance the development of our model to be more comprehensive and precise in terms of integrating stakeholders in economic and social decision making process.

Sixth, in his study under the title “Citizens’ engagement in policymaking and the design of public services”, Holmes (2011) investigated the placement of the citizen at the centre of policymakers’ considerations in the Australian Public Services, not just as target, but also as agent. The aim is to develop policies and design services that respond to individuals’ needs and are relevant to their circumstances. Concepts such ‘co-creation’ and ‘co-production’ have emerged to describe this systematic pursuit of sustained collaboration between government agencies, non-government organisations, communities and individual citizens.

He found out that the view of the public as ‘consumers’ has been reframed to regard the public as ‘citizens’, whose agency matters and whose right to participate directly or indirectly in decisions that affect them should be actively facilitated. Such an approach honours the fundamental principle of a democratic state—that power is to be exercised through, and resides in, its citizens.
Genuine engagement in the ‘co-production’ of policy and services requires major shifts in the culture and operations of government agencies. It demands of public servants new skills as enablers, negotiators and collaborators. It demands of citizens an orientation to the public good, a willingness to actively engage, and the capabilities needed to participate and deliberate well. These are tall orders, especially if citizens are disengaged and certain groups within the population are marginalised.

He also argued that effective engagement by a citizen-centric public service requires political support for the genuine devolution of power and decision-making to frontline public servants and professionals—and to the citizens and stakeholders with whom they engage. Ministers and agency heads have a major leadership responsibility here.

This study is very important to us because it addresses the issue of citizen’s involvement in the Australian public services’ decision-making process. This current paper is to some extent an update of this approach, but it is primarily concerned with how the economic and social decision-making process might benefit from thoroughgoing engagement with citizens and other groups. It draws on the recent public policy literature, and on commentary and case studies, to describe the procedural changes that might be needed if the government of Oman is to realise its vision of collaborative, democratically legitimised decision-making process.
Seventh, Cooper (2014) examined in his dissertation “Exploring Stakeholder Participation in Non-profit Collaboration” non-profit stakeholder participation in interorganizational collaboration through a case study of a non-profit, collaborative network dedicated to improving educational outcomes. The findings revealed the reproduction of organizational problems across a network level, the realities of multi-organizational collaboration in response to a “wicked” problem, the reduced role of traditional non-profit organizations in network efforts, and the communicative impacts of stakeholder participation in a collaborative network.
This study have contributed to stakeholder theory. The author criticized stakeholder theory and argued that this research provides new theoretical developments by emphasizing stakeholder engagement over stakeholder management, consideration of stakeholder power structures within and across collaboration, and application of stakeholder theory around a problem domain rather than a traditional organization-stakeholder relationship. These contributions further inform the development of a model of stakeholder participation in response to a wicked problem. This suggested model for stakeholder participation is in context of a wicked problem, wherein stakes lead to relationships, benefits, barriers, which in turn lead to specific types of participation, which then result in specific outcomes.
In addition, this research considers stakeholder theory in the context of non-profit collaborative network, and in doing so, expands stakeholder theory by exploring stakes within a problem domain rather than simply between a focal organization and individual stakeholder groups as has often been the case in stakeholder research.
In addition, several future directions for stakeholder theory were suggested, including the emphasis of stakeholder engagement over stakeholder management, a greater consideration of stakeholder power structures within and across collaboration, and the application of stakeholder theory to a problem domain rather than a focal organization.
This study is different in focus and context, but it will be useful for us to explore the current issues that will make stakeholders build up relationships and benefits based on specific types of integration of the public, private, and community in the economic and social decision-making process in Oman.
Eighth, Andrew McErlane (2016), in his study “The Application of Stakeholder Theory to UK PPP Stakeholders” aimed to explore the key stakeholders in Public- Private Partnerships (PPP) infrastructure projects and delineates their involvement in United Kingdom (UK) infrastructure provision, including the constructs of legitimacy, power and interest, together with a social network analysis approach.
It was found that the key stakeholders to be the private sector Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) and its constituent members; financiers, construction contractors, facilities management contractors, and the public sector Authority are ascertained. From an examination of these stakeholders and the PPP ‘environment’, two relationship dynamics are identified.
Firstly, it offers an original PPP framework grounded in stakeholder theory to identify and understand stakeholders. In doing so, this research offers a set of principles, as opposed to a definitive list, which runs the risk of excluding potential future stakeholders. Secondly, utilising this framework, this research applies these principles to existing literature. Centred on legitimacy, PPP stakeholders have been identified. Equally, adopting the constructs of power and interest, the study has provided an understanding of these stakeholders, in turn contributing the essential building blocks of these relationships to inform future research. The UK government has declared its commitment to PPP and no doubt future variants of these models will continue to be mechanised. As PPP models continue to develop and evolve in the UK, this potentially will bring about new stakeholders. As such, this will see the evolution of existing relationships but also significantly the creation of new unknown dynamics. Nevertheless, through the application of this framework, despite the advancement of future PPP arrangements, these stakeholders can continue to be identified and understood.

Even though this study is focused on the PPP stakeholders’ relationships and came up with asset of principles instead of usual lists brought by previous studies, it will help us to enrich our model by including some of its principles to be applied in the stakeholders’ integration in economic and social decision making in Oman.
Ninth,
ADDIN CSL_CITATION { “citationItems” : { “id” : “ITEM-1”, “itemData” : { “DOI” : “10.1080/09640568.2013.847822”, “ISBN” : “09640568”, “ISSN” : “13600559”, “PMID” : “1498196”, “abstract” : “Stakeholder engagement (SE), particularly with representatives of locally affected communities, is integral to Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) processes, so critical evaluation of SE is necessary across a range of different socio-political contexts. EIA SE practice in the Sultanate of Oman is examined using Q-Methodology, a qualitative-quantitative discourse analysis technique, in order to evaluate key-actor perspectives and policy directions. Four discourses emerge, pertaining to (1) the institutionalisation of SE; (2) business as usual; (3) rights-centred engagement; and (4) decentralisation of EIA institutions. Consensus emerges that shows support for transparency and formalisation of SE; greater citizen-centred decision-making power; transparency in government guidelines; and the elimination of developer-led consultation processes. Policy options for reforming EIA policy are discussed, including a code of participation practice and a toolkit of suitable engagement methods.”, “author” : { “dropping-particle” : “”, “family” : “Cotton”, “given” : “Matthew David”, “non-dropping-particle” : “”, “parse-names” : false, “suffix” : “” }, { “dropping-particle” : “”, “family” : “Mahroos-Alsaiari”, “given” : “Ahmed A.”, “non-dropping-particle” : “”, “parse-names” : false, “suffix” : “” } , “container-title” : “Journal of Environmental Planning and Management”, “id” : “ITEM-1”, “issue” : “1”, “issued” : { “date-parts” : “2015” }, “page” : “91-112”, “title” : “Key actor perspectives on stakeholder engagement in Omani Environmental Impact Assessment: an application of Q-Methodology”, “type” : “article-journal”, “volume” : “58” }, “uris” : “http://www.mendeley.com/documents/?uuid=4d42498f-751a-48f9-9b0b-b80b043efc85” } , “mendeley” : { “formattedCitation” : “(Cotton & Mahroos-Alsaiari, 2015)”, “manualFormatting” : “Cotton & Mahroos-Alsaiari (2015)”, “plainTextFormattedCitation” : “(Cotton & Mahroos-Alsaiari, 2015)”, “previouslyFormattedCitation” : “(Cotton & Mahroos-Alsaiari, 2015)” }, “properties” : { }, “schema” : “https://github.com/citation-style-language/schema/raw/master/csl-citation.json” }Cotton ; Mahroos-Alsaiari (2015) conducted a study under the title “Key actor perspectives on stakeholder engagement in Omani Environmental Impact Assessment: an application of Q-Methodology” and his aim was to examine Environmental Impact Assesment and Stakeholders’ Engagement practices in the Sultanate of Oman, in order to evaluate key-actor perspectives and policy directions. Four discourses emerge, pertaining to (1) the institutionalisation of SE; (2) business as usual; (3) rights-centred engagement; and (4) decentralisation of EIA institutions. Consensus emerges that shows support for transparency and formalisation of SE; greater citizen-centred decision-making power; transparency in government guidelines; and the elimination of developer-led consultation processes. Policy options for reforming EIA policy are discussed, including a code of participation practice and a toolkit of suitable engagement methods.

This study could be the most relevant to our study in the Omani context regardless of the fact that the focused variable is different which is they Environmental impact assessment, which is not the case in our study whereby the focus will be on integrating stakeholders in economic and social decision making process at the macro level in the government of Oman. So, this motivated us to do our study because it contained a lot of recommendation to do further studies in Oman. For example, it is necessary to identify whether participatory processes are demographically representative of host communities, whether outcomes of decision processes are reflective of stakeholder interests identified in social and decision-making process in Oman, and whether social learning about engagement practice is occurring amongst project developers and affected stakeholder parties.
It is also necessary to compare the performance of Omani participatory decision- making practice enshrined in law with other developed countries that mandate stakeholder integration in decision-making process, in order to benchmark the procedural fairness of different models of stakeholder involvement in the region and the world. The findings of this study thus motivated us to consider new participatory practices, tools and institutional mechanisms to ensure the satisfaction of multiple stakeholder parties’ interests in Omani developmental plans including vision 2040, and present grounding for future comparative work on participatory practice in this respect, particularly benchmarking against the Social and Economic Council of the Netherlands and committees and wise experts in Singapore GCC and any other relevant successful experience.

Previous literature on stakeholder approach represents the view of the western countries: most research views the stakeholder involvement in decision-making process form the perspective of the developed countries. However, it is important to consider stakeholder involvement process also from the perspective of the developing countries. The interests and characteristics of stakeholders in countries like Oman vary, sometimes considerably, compared to the interests and characteristics of the stakeholders in developed countries, or welfare states. This puts a big challenge on the Omani government to choose proper stakeholder integration criteria, which may differ a lot from those they are using in “Western” societies.

Methodology of researchMethodsThis research will use two methods of data collection for Oman as a case study in this research. Such data collection approach triangulates the data gathered on the case and reinforces the internal validity of the research findings (Soy, 1997). As this research significantly examines the perceptions of people of interest by assessing their ideas, attitudes, motives and intentions in real situations, this according to Henn et al. (2009), render it qualitative research, where insights, discovery and interpretation is preferred to rigorous measurement in qualitative research (Noor,2008 citing Merriam, 1988). Qualitative assessment is criticized for its inability to generalize, or findings lacking external validity– a critique raised by many scientists against the use of case study methods. A case used in qualitative research can clarify observations by valid, reliable and probability reasoning as a guideline to improve practice, rather than to establish an absolute truth (Cresswell, 2013).

Yin (1993) identified three types of case study methods, which are exploratory, descriptive and explanatory. The exploratory method establishes relationships and formulates hypotheses from field work and analysis of the raw data gathered; the descriptive method surveys data and analyses it to describe a specific theory or topic further, and the explanatory method explains relationships based on more detailed research questions and hypotheses tested by gathering specific data.

According to Yin’s (1993) classification of case study methods this research contains explanatory, descriptive and exploratory aspects. Itis exploratory in that new issue are likely to emerge through some of the research questions. The descriptive aspects arise as the data collected is useful to describe engagement in greater detail. Explanatory characteristics only emerge where relationships transpire through obtaining data from focused research questions.
Consideration was given to Yin’s (1994) three conditions of case study design:
The type of research questions determines the approach as being descriptive, exploratory or explanatory.

The amount of control by the researcher over the case study events.

The degree of focus considers current events in context and does not rely on historical information only.

Since more than one data source is used and these sources are brought up against each other to ensure accuracy, a triangulated research strategy is at work in this case. As highlighted by Denzin (1984 cited in Tellis, 1997), source triangulation is used to verify the same fact from different sources and thereby develop a deeper understanding of the case and strengthen the findings.

The research uses one case only, with historical information and role players’ accounts of what happened as data sources. Yin (1994) identified six types of research information sources for case studies, namely documentation, archive records, interviews, direct observation, participant observation and physical artefacts. This research utilizes three of these source types, namely documentation, archive records and interviews with relevant role players. The following table shows methods that will be utilized to triangulate the data obtained in the case study.

Data triangulation methods
Method of data collection Sources of data
Review of existing documents Documents, conditions of approval reports on development, monitoring authorities’ report, minutes of Monitoring Committee meetings, and newspaper reports
Semi-structured interviews Semi-structured interviews will be conducted with stakeholder representatives from sectors who can be formally represented at the level of decision making process. The interviewees will be as follows: government and local authority officials, general public, businessmen, directly affected parties, media, and councillors.
Stakeholders and decision making’s documentation consisting of reports, approval reports, was studied in order to come to terms with the scope of engagement. Various reports on decision making process form the key to the research since they contain issues raised by stakeholders. The reports and issues raised during implementation of the national development plans will also subjected to review. Other documents examined are authorizations and minutes of liaison meetings and minutes. The stakeholders who were engaged in the concerned development phases will be interviewed to establish specific responses to the research questions through initial rigorous probing, followed by spontaneous development of the interview. The semi-structured interviews, the review of archival records and document analysis formed the core of the research and enhanced the information on the case (Yin, 2009).

The model developed from the literature will be used to assess scope and effectiveness of stakeholder. The analysis is applied to aspects identified under activities and state projects that form part of the engagement process. The outcomes will be used to evaluate the individual and combined impact on the performance of the engagement process.

The activities of engagement will be analysed according to the extent to which they contributed to the desired level of engagement, the suitability of the methods applied, and the adequacy of logistical support for stakeholders to perform optimally. The state institutions for engagement will be evaluated on their presence, composition and performance in enabling the engagement process, and on their ability to give feedback and respond to the engagement process.
The research approach seeks to address the strengths and inadequacies of stakeholder engagement. The approach or methodology followed uses a case study analysis to explore opportunities to improve stakeholder engagement. Evaluation of the engagement process should address the purposes it seeks to satisfy, in this case to make economic and social decision making process performance of stakeholder engagement effective. Data collection methods used in the case, sources of data and data analysis are highlighted to communicate the approach to the treatment of data in order to satisfy the aim and objectives of the research.

The underlying theories
Since this is exploratory study and qualitative, there is no theoretical framework propose for the study. However, this study will propose a model that involve stakeholders in social and economic decision-making process at the governmental level. The underlying theories that inform this study are those provided by, stakeholder theory (Freeman 1984; Andriof et al. 2002, 2003) and new institutional theory (Meyer & Rowan 1977; Zucker 1977; DiMaggio & Powell 1983) to address how stakeholder engagement takes place in the decision making process, to what extent it takes place and what drives the government of Oman to engage stakeholders in its social and economic decision making process.
The model established for this study specifies the various stages involved in stakeholders’ engagement in social and economic decision-making process, in particular a recommendation to establish an independent body. It is useful in coordinating the efforts of different scattered government agencies under one umbrella to increase the efficiency of the governmental performance of Oman in order to achieve the vision 2040.
Stakeholder theory provides a theoretical lens to identify stakeholders, anticipate the stake they have and justify the need for stakeholder engagement in decision making process. Stakeholder identification and prioritisation is critical to stakeholder engagement as it enables an organisation to identify stakeholders likely to be affected by its decisions (Freeman 1984; Mitchell et al. 1997). This understanding is necessary to determine the interests and contributions of different stakeholder groups in the process.
Stakeholder engagement frameworks suggested by Arnstein (1969), Friedman and Miles (2006) and Accountability (2011) are used to examine the nature and extent of stakeholder engagement in the process. These frameworks describe different levels of engagement, ranging from informing to empowering, that can be exercised by organisations to involve stakeholders. Therefore, stakeholder theory offers a model to understand the ‘whom, how and what’ of stakeholder engagement in the national context.
In order to explore the ‘why’ of stakeholder engagement, the new institutional theory (DiMaggio ; Powell 1983) is used. This model provides the theoretical lens to analyse the external environment pressures on the government to engage with their stakeholders in decision-making process. Mimetic, coercive and normative influences have been considered to examine the drivers of stakeholder engagement.
The combination of decision-making framework, stakeholder theory and new institutional theory is appropriate to the analysis in this study because together they provide a framework to explain the whom, how, what and why of stakeholder engagement in decision-making process. The model will be explained in this research and then applied in Oman to address the central objectives of this research.

Expected OutcomesIt is expected that the development of an economic and social model of stakeholders’ engagement for Oman will effectively engage stakeholders in the process of decision making in order to identify priority sectors that are potential to diversification and competitiveness. The stake holder, including NGO’s and private sector, will work closely with the government on the preparation of national strategies and their implementation. Each of the key stakeholders (government, private sector and NGOs) may identify how they will contribute to the model according to each one’s respective mandates.
The research may end up with a recommendation that Oman should establish a body or special unit that will be in charge of dialogues and coordination of the contribution of all relevant stakeholders to the implementation of the model. Also, a monitoring and evaluation is intended to track the achieved progress and difficulties encountered and to ensure the objectives and outputs of the model are implemented effectively and efficiently.

The model is expected to identify, discuss and resolve the economic and social issues at any sector or industry of Oman by mutual consent after discussion and sharing expertise, arising on the beginning of issues and finally submit the report and recommendations to government and parliament. It can also attract foreign investment and urge private sectors to invest in diversified investment to bring the economy of Oman at peak level that’s how oil based economy would shift to non-oil economy and to save the scarce oil reserves of Oman.

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