Soft System Methodology: Project vs Local Community Interests in Project Social Conflict

Document Type : Original Article


Civil Engineering Department, University of Tarumanagara Jakarta, Indonesia


Social conflict in projects is an uncompromising representation of differences in interests. Each project receives different claims from stakeholders based on their conditions. Project interest depends on the target level and goals to be achieved. Subsequently, the local community surrounding the project transforms their interests based on economic, social, cultural, and environmental expectations. This study aims to reveal factors of interests between project and local community on the occurrence of social conflict in projects. Soft System Methodology and CATWOE were used to identify root cause and factors of interests in the social conflict. Through library research and previous relevant researches, it was revealed that there are eight factors of interests which cause social conflict in projects. It is recommended that future researches should use factors in Formal System Methodology (FSM) to model the prediction of social conflict in projects based on different interests between project and local community. The results are useful to compose the standard environment and social framework (ESF) as a “middle way interests” concept to reduce social conflict in projects. By using the correct ESF, interests and conflicts can be managed well so that the benefits can be enjoyed by the community and project itself. Finally, the results of this study can be used to formulate indices of social conflicts in construction projects.


  1. Setianto, “Social Conflict In Infrastructure Development Case Study Jati Gede Dam.” Jurnal Sosek Pekerjaan Umum, Vol. 6, No. 3, (2014), 140-221.
  2. Chan, A. P.C. and Oppong, G. D. “Managing the expectations of external stakeholders in construction projects.” Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, 24, No. 5, (2017), 736-756.
  3. Project Management Institute, “A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK).” Sixth Edition, Project Management Institute, Inc., Newtown Square-Pennsylvania, 2017.
  4. Eden, C. and Ackermann, F. “Where next for problem structuring methods?.” Journal of the Operational Research Society, 57, No. 7, (2006), 766-768.
  5. Checkland, P. “Soft systems methodology: a thirty year retrospective.” Systems Research and Behavioral Science, 17, (2000), S11-S58.<::AID-SRES374>3.0.CO;2-O
  6. Omenge, P. M., Obwoyere, G. O., Eshiamwata, G. W., Makindi, S. M. and Nathwani, J. “Environmental and Social Impact Assessment Procedural Steps That Underpin Conflict Identification: Reference to Renewable Energy Resource Development In Kenya.” International Journal of Energy Production and Management, 5, No. 2, (2020), 157-174.
  7. Wu, G., Zhao, X. and Zuo, J. “Effects of inter-organizational conflicts on construction project added value in China.” International Journal of Conflict Management, 28, No. 5, (2017), 695-723.
  8. Al-Sibaie, E. Z., Alashwal, A. M., Abdul-Rahman, H. and Zolkafli, U. K. “Determining the relationship between conflict factors and performance of international construction projects.” Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, 21, No. 4, (2014), 369-382.
  9. Vaux, J. S. and Kirk, W. M. “Relationship Conflict in Construction Management: Performance and Productivity Problem.” Journal of Construction Engineering and Management, Vol. 144, No. 6, (2018), 04018032.
  10. Wei, H. H., Liu, M., Skibniewski, M. J. and Balali, V. “Conflict and consensus in stakeholder attitudes toward sustainable transport projects in China: An empirical investigation.” Habitat International, 53, (2016), 473-484.
  11. Lückmann, P. and Färber, K. “The impact of cultural differences on project stakeholder engagement: a review of case study research in international project management.” Procedia Computer Science, Vol. 100, (2016), 85–94.
  12. Xiahou, X., Tang, Y., Yuan, J., Chang, T., Liu, P. and Li, Q. “Evaluating Social Performance of Construction Projects: An Empirical Study.” Sustainability, 10, No. 7, (2018), 2329.
  13. Meng, J., Yan, J. and Xue, B. “Exploring Relationships between National Culture and Infrastructure Sustainability Using QCA.” Journal of Construction Engineering and Management, Vol. 144, No. 9, (2018), 04018082.
  14. Sanggoro, H. B., Widyaningsih, N. and Bintoro, B. P. K. “Analysis influence factors of domination, competency and interpersonal skill in the stakeholder interaction to infrastructure project success.” International Journal of Engineering & Technology, Vol. 9, No. 1, (2020), 164-174.
  15. Min, J. H., Jang, W., Han, S. H., Kim, D. and Kwak, Y. H. “How Conflict Occurs and What Causes Conflict: Conflict Analysis Framework for Public Infrastructure Projects.” Journal of Management in Engineering, Vol. 34, No. 4, (2018), 04018019.
  16. Panahi, B., Moezzi, E., Preece, C. N. and Zakaria, W. N. W. “Value conflicts and organizational commitment of internal construction stakeholders.” Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, Vol. 24, No. 4, (2017), 554-574.
  17. Turner, J. R. and Lecoeuvre, L. “Marketing by, for and of the project: project marketing by three types of organizations.” International Journal of Managing Projects in Business, 10, No. 4, (2017), 841-855.
  18. Puck, J. F., Neyer, A-K. and Dennerlein, T. “Diversity and conflict in teams: a contingency perspective.” European Journal of International Management, 4, No. 4, (2011), 417-439.
  19. Taghizadehalvandi, M. and Ozturk, Z. K. "Multi-objective Solution Approaches for Employee Shift Scheduling Problems in Service Sectors." International Journal of Engineering, IJE Transactions C: Aspects, 32, No. 9, (2019), 1312-1319.
  20. Jang, W., Yu, G., Jung, W., Kim, D. and Han, S. H. “Financial Conflict Resolution for Public-Private Partnership Projects Using a Three-Phase Game Framework.” Journal of Construction Engineering and Management, 144, No. 3, (2017), 05017022.
  21. World Bank, “The WORLD BANK : Environmental and Social Framework,” International Bank for Reconstruction and Development/The World Bank, Washington DC, 2017.
  22. Hartono,, Dzulfikar, L. and Damayanti, R. “Impact of Team Diversity and Conflict on Project Performance in Indonesian Start-Ups,” Journal of  Industrial Engineering and Management, Vol. 13, No. 1, (2020), 155-178.
  23. Park, Y., Han, S. H., Lee, K. and Lee, Y. M. “Analyzing Drivers of Conflict in Energy Infrastructure Projects: Empirical Case Study of Natural Gas Pipeline Sectors,” Sustainability, Vol. 9, No. 11, (2017), 2031.
  24. Riley, M. and Ellegood, W. A. “Relationship conflict, task conflict and teams’ transactive memory systems,” International Journal of Educational Management, Vol. 34, No. 3, (2020), 626-640.
  25. Wang, Y. and Xiang, P. “Investigate the Conduction Path of Stakeholder Conflict of Urban Regeneration Sustainability in China: the Application of Social-Based Solutions.” Sustainability, 11, No. 19, (2019), 5271.
  26. Caputo, A. "Systemic Stakeholders’ Management for Real Estate Development Projects" Global Business and Management Research: An International Journal, 5, No. 1, (2013), 66-82.
  27. Xue, Y. and Xiang, P. “The Social Risk of High-Speed Rail Projects in China: A Bayesian Network Analysis.” Sustainability, 12, No. 5, (2020), 2087.
  28. Çelik, T., Kamali, S. and Arayici, Y. “Social cost in construction projects.” Environmental Impact Assessment Review, 64, (2017), 77–86.
  29. Chen, Y. Q., Zhang, Y. B. and Zhang, S. J. “Impacts of Different Types of Owner-Contractor Conflict on Cost Performance in Construction Projects”. Journal of Construction Engineering and Management, 140, No. 6, (2014), 04014017.
  30. Mehregana, M. R., Hosseinzadeha, M. and Kazemia, A. “An application of Soft System Methodology.” Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences, 41, (2012), 426 – 433.
  31. Witrianto, “Manajemen Konflik Dalam Pembangunan Masyarakat di Mimika Papua,” Jurnal Penelitian Sejarah dan Budaya, 1, No. 2, (2015), 283-307.
  32. Antunes, C. H., Dias, L., Dantas, G., Mathias, J. and Zamboni, L. “An application of Soft Systems Methodology in the evaluation of policies and incentive actions to promote technological innovations in the electricity sector.” Energy Procedia, 106, (2016), 258 – 278.
  33. Magsi, H., Torre, A., Liu, Y. and Sheikh, M. J. “Land Use Conflicts in the Developing Countries: Proximate Driving Forces and Preventive Measures.” The Pakistan Development Review, 56, No. 1, (2017), 19–30.
  34. Molwus, J. J., Erdogan, B. and Ogunlana, S. “Using structural equation modelling (SEM) to understand the relationships among critical success factors (CSFs) for stakeholder management in construction.” Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, Vol. 24, No. 3, (2017), 426-450.
  35. Nguyen, L. H. and Watanabe, T. “The Impact of Project Organizational Culture on the Performance of Construction Projects.” Sustainability, 9, No. 5, (2017), 781.
  36. Taheri, A. M. J., Haghighi, F. R., Eshtehardian, E. and Abessi, O. “Optimization of Time, Cost and Quality in Critical Chain Method Using Simulated Annealing,” International Journal of Engineering, Transactions B: Applications, 30, No. 5, (2017), 627-635.