Proposal to measure stakeholder participation in the management of sustainable local development

Cooperativismo y Desarrollo, September-December 2021; 9(3), 764-786
Translated from the original in Spanish


Proposal to measure stakeholder participation in the management of sustainable local development


Propuesta para medir la participación de actores en la gestión del desarrollo local sostenible


Proposta para medir a participação das partes interessadas na gestão do desenvolvimento local sustentável


Maricela María González Pérez1; Ana Isabel García Díaz2

1 Universidad de Pinar del Río "Hermanos Saíz Montes de Oca". Pinar del Río, Cuba.

2 Universidad de Pinar del Río "Hermanos Saíz Montes de Oca". Pinar del Río, Cuba.


Received: 17/07/2021
Accepted: 2/11/2021


Stakeholder participation is key to the management of local development, it strengthens the capacity for collective action of public, private and social institutions of the municipality by working together for the same purpose, generating processes of growth and change. This generates the need to measure the participation of the different stakeholder in the process of local development management. Hence, the general objective of the work was defined in terms of proposing dimensions and indicators that can be used in the Cuban context to measure stakeholder participation in sustainable local development. The research methods used included the historical-logical, measurement and modeling, accompanied by documentary analysis techniques and interviews. Their materialization allowed defining, as a result, the most appropriate dimensions and indicators to measure the participation of the different stakeholders in the management of local development as a contribution to decision-making by governments, which is feasible for municipalities.

Keywords: local development management; participation; measuring citizen participation


La participación de actores es clave para la gestión del desarrollo local, fortalece la capacidad de acción colectiva de las instituciones públicas, privadas y sociales de la municipalidad al trabajar juntas en un mismo fin, generando procesos de crecimiento y cambio. Lo anterior genera la necesidad de medir la participación de los diferentes actores en el proceso de gestión de desarrollo local. De aquí que el objetivo general del trabajo se definió en función de proponer las dimensiones e indicadores que pueden ser empleadas en el contexto de Cuba para medir la participación de los actores en el desarrollo local sostenible. Los métodos de investigación utilizados incluyeron el histórico-lógico, la medición y la modelación, acompañados de las técnicas de análisis documental y las entrevistas. Su materialización permitió definir, como resultado, las dimensiones e indicadores más apropiados para medir la participación de los diferentes actores en la gestión del desarrollo local como contribución a la toma de decisiones por parte de los gobiernos, lo que resulta viable para las municipalidades.

Palabras clave: gestión del desarrollo local; participación; medición de la participación ciudadana


A participação das partes interessadas é fundamental para a gestão do desenvolvimento local. Reforça a capacidade de ação coletiva das instituições públicas, privadas e sociais do município, trabalhando em conjunto para o mesmo objetivo, gerando processos de crescimento e mudança. Isto gera a necessidade de medir a participação dos diferentes atores no processo de gestão do desenvolvimento local. Assim, o objetivo geral do documento foi definido em termos de propor dimensões e indicadores que possam ser utilizados no contexto cubano para medir a participação das partes interessadas no desenvolvimento local sustentável. Os métodos de investigação utilizados incluíram métodos histórico-lógicos, medição e modelação, juntamente com técnicas de análise documental e entrevistas. A sua materialização permitiu definir, como resultado, as dimensões e indicadores mais apropriados para medir a participação dos diferentes atores na gestão do desenvolvimento local, como contributo para a tomada de decisões pelos governos, o que é viável para os municípios.

Palavras-chave: gestão do desenvolvimento local; participação; medição da participação dos cidadãos



The public management of local development has reached in the last decades an important place in the conceptions of development of several countries as a complement to their national strategies; in Cuba, this topic acquires special importance since 2011, when it is explicitly and intentionally inserted in the context of the process of updating its socio-economic development model.

One of the most important aspects for the achievement of the development objectives foreseen in the localities is the capacity of governments to make and implement decisions in a participatory manner. In recent years, this has been a topic that has been addressed by various authors and organizations such as Vázquez Barquero and Rodríguez Cohard (2015), FEMP (2015), Anquilla Belema et al. (2016), Castillo Cubillos (2017), Díaz Aldret (2017), Senplades (2018), Salvador Hernández and Llanes Font (2017), etc. It has been shown that the failure of many of the implemented local development models has had as a main cause the lack of involvement of civil society stakeholders and organized stakeholders in decision-making processes.

The active participation of the different stakeholders present in a locality dynamizes and sustains the management of local development. This participation can take on a variety of organizational forms that are provided by the government to create spaces for exchange, expression and consensus-building between the government and its citizens, in line with its main purpose of raising the level of satisfaction and quality of life of the population.

The aforementioned authors define that conscious and critical participation in decision-making represents a connection between the government and the different local stakeholders; this allows exchanges through spaces for consultation and influences the public management of the territories as an opportunity to reverse deficiencies and give rise to progress. Díaz Aldret (2017, p. 348) summarizes the above as: "An opportunity to achieve a more effective distribution of resources for development".

Since the approval of the update of the Constitution of the Republic of Cuba (2019), the New Territorial Policy in July 2020 and Decree 33 (2021), the issue of participation to promote the processes of self-sufficiency and development in each of the municipalities has become a top priority.

However, taking action to promote participation requires methodologies and tools for measuring and analyzing the current situation in each municipality in order to determine the baseline and project the changes to be achieved in the future, and these indicators are not currently present in national or local statistics in all their dimensions.

Due to the above, the objective of this research is to propose dimensions and indicators that can be used in the Cuban context to measure the participation of stakeholders in sustainable local development.



The research classifies as bibliographic or of theoretical revision; for this, the methods of historical-logical theoretical level were used that allowed to analyze the theoretical and methodological referents associated to the participation of the different stakeholders in the management of the local development, its evolution, tendencies, dimensions and indicators. In this case, the techniques of documentary analysis and the infotechnological tool ATLAS.TI 8 were combined, which allowed establishing relations between the different codes, quotes, annotations and other entities, in order to build visual models, graphs and conceptual maps; the modeling method was also used to determine the dimensions, indicators and their calculation methodology. In both cases, the logical thinking procedures of analysis and synthesis and induction and deduction were used to reach conclusions and make proposals.

For the bibliographic review, Google Scholar was used as a search engine, through which access was gained to specialized scientific journals that address the subject, indexed in the Scielo and DOAJ databases, consulting more than 10 journals of interest. Websites of several local governments in Ibero-America that have already defined methodologies and indicators to promote the participation of stakeholders in decision-making were also consulted; in this sense, the site of the Open Government Alliances stands out. The processing of the bibliographic information located was carried out using the Zotero manager. From a temporal point of view, it covered the last 20 years, but with particular emphasis on the last five years.



The local development model must favor transformation processes, both economic, social, environmental and political-institutional; for this, it needs to consider and mobilize all the resources and stakeholders present in each locality, as well as the necessary exogenous resources.

For Anquilla Belema et al. (2016, p. 3) local development: It is based on the identification and use of endogenous resources and potential of a community, neighborhood or city. Endogenous potentialities of each territory are considered to be economic and non-economic factors, among the latter: social, cultural, historical, institutional, landscape resources, among others.

Then, the transformation referred to by some authors is only possible through a new public management, which generates consensus between the local government and the community. This, provided that the former recognizes the importance of the intervention of local stakeholders and their "entrepreneurial capacity" (Vázquez Barquero, 2017, p. 293).

Similarly, Castillo Cubillos (2017, p. 18) grants a fundamental role to the participation of stakeholders in governance and in the current governance scenario, when he defines it as: `The mechanism through which citizens participate in the formulation and implementation of public policies on the one hand. On the other hand, it allows to lead to the exercise of government, which consists of processing the demands that communities make through citizen participation. The citizenry, in this scenario, is one of the main stakeholders and has an important weight.

Performance indicators are intended to "improve, evaluate and generate useful information, through the progress made in achieving efficient public management at the institutional level" (Senplades, 2018, p. 5) to meet specific needs and assess progress through monitoring to provide early warning of discrepancies that may hinder the decision-making process.

Salvador Hernández and Llanes Font (2017) explain that to the extent that local stakeholders become more involved in participatory processes, making use of mechanisms such as neighborhood assemblies, support commissions, advisory committees, community councils, citizen forums, citizen juries, single window, discussion tables, participatory intervention nuclei, plenaries, observatories, seminars, workshops, it contributes to the evaluation of processes through the provision of information on the performance and results of local governments. The author himself offers a complete methodology that covers quantitative and qualitative aspects. As a qualitative indicator he proposes the Composite Index of Citizen Participation (ICPC), which includes four basic dimensions: informative, consultative, collaborative and decision-making.

The informative dimension is related to the ability of governments to keep citizens informed about those elements that are of interest to them, the consultative dimension is linked to the level of consultations made to citizens, related to projects or social programs under implementation that affect or benefit the citizens of their locality, the collaborative dimension refers to the contribution or assistance provided by citizens for the solution of certain problems, illegalities and social indisciplines that affect citizens. Finally, decision making is associated with the inclusion of the citizen in decision making that involves some effect for citizens and the community (Salvador Hernández & Llanes Font, 2017).

Pérez Véliz (2019, p. 61) argues that citizens: "must be able to access and have information on the analysis of the authorities in order to make a decision". In this way, he establishes three essential characteristics in the search for open government:

  1. Government must be transparent as a feature that promotes accounting render
  2. Government should be participatory as a means to increase the effectiveness and quality of its decisions, taking advantage of the knowledge that is dispersed among its people
  3. The government must identify the best mechanisms that allow it to establish an inclusive collaboration with all the stakeholders present in its territory

The Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (2017) states that open government in practice should consider:

They also establish three fundamental principles of open government:

These principles also establish the importance of local spaces for open government since, due to the proximity and linkages involved, policies can be made easier, faster and more connected at the local level, even more so than at the national level.

The new policy for the promotion of territorial development and Decree 33 that concretizes it, in correspondence with Guideline 17 of the Economic and Social Policy of the Party and the Revolution for the period 2016-2021, is defined as an integrating management instrument that favors local development as an essentially endogenous, participatory, innovative process of articulation of interests between the different stakeholders of different scales (municipal, provincial and sectoral/national) and points out not only being a sum of municipal strategies, but: It emphasizes the identification and management of the main productive poles and intermunicipal value chains, which require an entity that articulates the stakeholders involved and facilitates the channeling of human, financial, material and technological resources for their development.

From the point of view of citizen participation, some principles of interest in this policy are highlighted:

This policy gives the possibility of generating new participatory spaces that integrate the efforts of different local stakeholders, from the endogenous, taking advantage of these resources in the solution of problems of the municipality through a participatory management.

Taking into account the theoretical-methodological references presented, it was proceeded to elaborate a proposal for the measurement of the participation of the population in the management of local development at the municipal level, taking into account the Cuban context. Firstly, the dimensions to be considered for the measurement of population participation were defined; secondly, it was determined how to establish the level of participation in each dimension; thirdly, the necessary instruments and sources of information were defined, and finally, the information of each dimension was integrated into a single indicator that synthetically expresses the participation of the population of a municipality in the management of local development.

According to the literature, different dimensions have been identified to measure stakeholder participation; of these, those considered most appropriate for Cuba were selected.

The dimensions best suited to the situation of our municipalities are: informative, opinion, consultation and debate, civic, associative and electoral.

The informative dimension is mainly related to the capacity of governments to keep citizens informed on topics of interest to them. This information facilitates citizen participation through motivating and suggestive messages and images that stimulate it in the population.

On this dimension, Article 53 of the Constitution of the Republic of Cuba states that: "all persons have the right to request and receive truthful, objective and timely information from the State and to have access to information generated by State bodies and entities, in accordance with the established regulations" (p. 5).

Similarly, subparagraph d of Article 200 defines that the Municipal Assembly of People's Power, for the purpose of guaranteeing the rights of petition and citizen participation: "maintains an adequate level of information to the population on the decisions of general interest that are adopted by the organs of People's Power" (p. 14).

The opinion dimension has to do with the act of expressing a point of view on a given topic, which is materialized through the various channels that the population has or can have to express their opinions on public management, such as: accounting render assemblies of the delegate of the People's Power at the constituency level to their constituents, offices of the delegate with their constituents, citizen portal, welfare platform, etc.

The Constitution of the Republic of Cuba mentions this dimension in article 61 when it states: "People have the right to address complaints and petitions to the authorities, who are obliged to process them and provide timely, pertinent and well-founded responses within the time limit and according to the procedure established by law" (p. 5).

Also in Article 80, subparagraph e, when it states that Cuban citizens have the right to participate in the formation, exercise and control of the power of the State, in accordance with the Constitution and the laws, "to express their opinion on the accounting renders of those elected" (p. 6).

Similarly, Article 200, subparagraphs b and c, define that the Municipal Assembly of People's Power, for the purpose of guaranteeing the rights of petition and citizen participation: "guarantees the correct attention to the approaches, complaints and petitions of the population and guarantees the right of the population of the municipality to propose the analysis of issues within its competence" (p. 14).

The dimension of consultation and debate identifies consultation as the active participation of the population, giving their opinion regarding a specific topic, however, it is not of a decisive nature, it is just that, a consultation. In a different way, the debate asks for an argumentation of positioning in front of a specific topic, that is to say, the possibility of convincing the opponent of the defended position is acquired.

On this dimension, subparagraph a of article 200 specifies that the Municipal Assembly of People's Power, in order to guarantee the rights of petition and citizen participation: "calls for popular consultation on matters of local interest in accordance with its attributions" (p. 14).

The dimension of direct participation has to do with participation in associations and collective actions and the degree of people's involvement in them.

Any direct action cannot be considered in this dimension, only the one which ultimate decision on a matter is not taken by any intermediary, but by the citizens as a whole, expressed freely and democratically. Therefore, the election of representatives cannot be considered here and it was incorporated into the electoral dimension (FEMP, 2015).

According to the Constitution of the Republic, Article 56: "The rights of assembly, demonstration and association for lawful and peaceful purposes are recognized by the State provided that they are exercised with respect for public order and in compliance with the precepts established by law" (p. 5).

The electoral dimension is characterized by the exercise of the political right to vote and be voted for by those citizens over 16 years of age who meet the legal requirements to do so, in turn defines that all citizens, with legal capacity to do so, have the right to intervene in the direction of the State, either directly or through their elected representatives to integrate the organs of the People's Power and to participate, for that purpose, in the manner provided by law.

In Cuba, the Cuban Electoral System is regulated by Title IX of the Constitution of the Republic and by Law 127, Electoral Law (2019), approved by the National Assembly of People's Power. Article 204 states that "all citizens, with the legal capacity to do so, have the right to intervene in the direction of the State, either directly or through their elected representatives to integrate the organs of the People's Power and to participate, for that purpose, in the manner provided by law, in periodic elections, plebiscites and popular referendums, which shall be free, equal and secret voting. This is a constitutional right. It is a right, a civic duty that is exercised voluntarily. Each voter has the right to only one vote" (p. 15).

The civic dimension encompasses a series of respectful behaviors of the citizen with the rules of public coexistence. These rules of coexistence can be considered participatory behaviors as they are based on the search for one's own well-being and that of society.

In the case of Cuba, these behaviors are conceived as duties in the Constitution of the Republic, in its article 90 (d, g, h, i, k and l) where it is stated:

The exercise of the rights and freedoms provided for in this Constitution implies responsibilities. The duties of Cuban citizens, in addition to the others established in this Constitution and the laws, are to contribute to the financing of public expenditures in the manner established by law, to respect the rights of others and not to abuse their own, to conserve, protect and rationally use the goods and resources which the State and society place at the service of all the people, to comply with the requirements established for the protection of health and environmental hygiene, protect natural resources, flora and fauna and ensure the preservation of a healthy environment, protect the cultural and historical heritage of the country and act, in their relations with people, according to the principle of human solidarity, respect and observance of the rules of social coexistence (pp. 6-7).

In accordance with the provisions of Article 56 (mentioned above) of the Constitution of the Republic, the associative dimension is considered a form of direct participation, since the existence of these organizations provides a space that fosters these participatory behaviors.

Except for the electoral dimension (for which there are official statistics that allow to make exact calculations of the population's attendance at the polls, as well as to characterize their vote), determining the level of participation in each dimension is currently a challenge due to the scarce sources of information on these dimensions.

Table 1 lists each of the dimensions, as well as the possible sources from which the information for their evaluation can be obtained, as well as the indicator proposed for their summary.

Table 1 - Sources of information and indicators of the basic dimensions for the measurement of population participation


Sources of information



  • Media statistics
  • Government statistics on information published directly via internet
  • Population survey

Ipc1= Indicator of information provided to the population


  • Registration of the population's suggestions in the government of the municipality
  • Summaries of speeches at the PP accounting renders assemblies
  • Register of the population's suggestions received in the municipality's mass media.
  • Records of approaches received in the municipality's PCC
  • Population survey

Ipc2= Indicator of the population's opinionated behavior

Consultation and discussion

  • Minutes of consultations and debates convened by the government
  • Population survey

Ipc3= Indicator of topics consulted and discussed by the population


  • Polling Station Statistics

Ipc4= Indicator of direct participation of the population
Ipc5= Indicator of voters participating in the electoral process


  • Statistics of all political, trade union, professional, social, mass and religious organizations present in the municipality.
  • Population survey

Ipc6= Indicator of civic behaviors of the population


  • Population survey

Ipc7= Indicator of active participation in associations

Source: Own elaboration based on bibliography

The sources listed above refer to those that may be available in each municipality for use by the administration.

Although there are several sources that provide information on the behavior of the population's participation in the management of local development, it is not enough, and in other cases it does not exist in other ways, which is why it is necessary to directly capture the population's perception of their involvement in the process.

At the international level, the scarcity of information is resolved through the use of surveys of those directly involved which, although not always accurate, do offer an approach to the knowledge of the situation under study.

For this reason, a survey was designed (Annex No. 1), which includes in a first section the characterization of respondents by sex, age range, level of schooling, occupational category and popular council and in a second section, closed questions, according to the basic dimensions described above (Informative, Opinion, Consultation and Debate, Electoral, Civic and Associative), using for the answers a Likert-type scale of 5 options (Never, Almost Never, Sometimes, Almost Always, Always), which had as a reference the proposal of Hevia and Vergara-Lope (2011).

This survey should be applied to a statistically representative sample of the population over the age of majority, stratified by popular councils and sex.

The survey should be conducted at least once a year, preferably on the same date, so that the government can monitor how the indicators in each dimension and the overall indicator change over time, based on the actions taken to increase the population's participation.

The results of the survey should be processed using the statistical software SPSS or any other similar, it allows to perform the necessary consistency tests and calculate the statistical indicators, it is proposed to use the mode as it is important mainly in qualitative variables or when there is an interest of the majority and the arithmetic mean to obtain the average of a sample of the population inclined to a certain answer.

Once each indicator has been calculated individually, the Population Participation Indicator (PPI) is calculated, which is nothing more than a level of participation of the population in the management of local development, which was obtained by adding the value of each of the previous indicators:

IPP = PEIpc1 + PEIpc2 + PEIpc3 + PEIpc4 + PEIpc5 + PEIpc6 + PEIpc7

Taking into consideration that participation in the different dimensions does not have the same importance, it is recommended that those in charge define the specific weight (SW) of each one according to the characteristics of their context and submit it to the approval of the highest government authority.

The calculation of the indicators and the implementation of the survey should be the responsibility of the municipal government. It is suggested that the municipal statistics office or another entity be entrusted with this task in order to guarantee sustainability and, in addition, professionalism in the execution of the survey.

With the first measurement exercise, the government will have a baseline on which to work, in order to continue increasing the participation of the population, both in each dimension and globally, based on the establishment and/or improvement of new policies and mechanisms.

For governments, it is very important to establish both the dimensions and the indicators and instruments that allow them to measure the behavior of citizen participation in the management of local development. Knowledge of these results, year after year, will allow them to compare the effectiveness of the policies they have been applying to broaden participation as a basis for implementing actions for continuous improvement in an increasingly inclusive and transparent exercise of government management.



Asamblea Nacional del Poder Popular. (2019). Constitución de la República de Cuba. Gaceta Oficial de la República de Cuba, Edición Extraordinaria No. 5.

Asamblea Nacional del Poder Popular de la República de Cuba. (2019). Ley 127 Ley Electoral. Gaceta Oficial de la República de Cuba, Edición Ordinaria No. 60.

Auquilla Belema, L. A., Ordóñez Bravo, E. F., Fernández Sánchez, L. del R., & Cadena Oleas, B. N. (2016). El desarrollo local a través de la economía popular y solidaria en Ecuador. Observatorio Iberoamericano Del Desarrollo Local y La Economía Social, (21).

Castillo Cubillos, M. (2017). El papel de la participación ciudadana en las políticas públicas urbanas, bajo el actual escenario de la gobernanza. Revista CS, (23), 157-180.

Cepal. (2017). Plan de gobierno abierto: Una hoja de ruta para los gobiernos de la región. Comisión Económica para América Latina y el Caribe.

Consejo de Ministros de la República de Cuba. (2021). Decreto 33 Para la gestión estratégica del desarrollo territorial. Gaceta Oficial de la República de Cuba, Edición Ordinaria No. 40.

Díaz Aldret, A. (2017). Participación ciudadana en la gestión y en las políticas públicas. Gestión y Política Pública, 26(2), 341-379.

FEMP. (2015). Guía de instrumentos y herramientas para las políticas locales de transparencia y participación ciudadana. Federación Española de Municipios y Provincias.

Hevia de la Jara, F. J., & Vergara-Lope Tristán, S. (2011). ¿Cómo medir la participación? Creación, validación y aplicación del Cuestionario Conductas de Participación. Ciesas.

Pérez Véliz, A. (2019). Los derechos de respuesta y rectificación: Garantías para la protección del derecho a una información transparente. En V. S. Peña, A. Pérez Véliz, M. B. Calzada Torres, & O. Hernández Aguilar, Políticas públicas de transparencia, acceso a la información y rendición de cuentas. Acercamientos a las realidades de México y Cuba (pp. 59-74). Colegio de Sonora.

Salvador Hernández, Y., & Llanes Font, M. (2017). Indicadores tangibles e intangibles para la gestión de la participación ciudadana. Ciencias Holguín, 23(4), 44-57.

Senplades. (2018). Manual para la generación de indicadores homologados 2019-GPR. Secretaría Nacional de Planificación y Desarrollo.;Subaction=DownloadAttachment;ItemID=140;FileID=154

Vázquez Barquero, A. (2017). Dinámica productiva y desarrollo en las áreas rurales. Panorama Económico, 25(3), 289-296.

Vázquez Barquero, A., & Rodríguez Cohard, J. C. (2015). La política de desarrollo local: Los desafíos de los territorios de desarrollo tardío. Ciudad y Territorio Estudios Territoriales, 47(186), 625-638.



Annex No. 1 Survey of the population

Dear citizen:

As part of the changes and transformations that are being applied in the management of the government at the municipal level, in accordance with what has been approved in the Constitution of the Republic and recognizing the decisive importance that you as a citizen have in the decision making process on the local development that is intended to be achieved, we request your collaboration to know the degree of participation that you have had in the previous year in said management. There is no right or wrong answer, feel free to answer as you understand.

1. Characterization of the respondents

1.1. Gender: ___ F ___ M

1.2. Age: ___ 17 to 27 years ___ 28 to 38 years ___ 39 to 49 years ___ 50 to 60 years ___ 61 to 64 years

1.3. Level of schooling: ___ Primary ___ Secondary ___ Middle Superior ___ Superior

1.4. Occupational category: ___ Operators ___ Technicians ___ Administrative ___ Services ___ Managers

1.5. Popular Council:



1 The purpose of the law is to promote transparency in the administrative function of any public body, whether State or non-State, and to guarantee the fundamental right of individuals to access to public information.

2 Reactive or passive transparency refers to the citizen's right to access public information generated by the government, which allows knowing the government's activities, citizen control and accounting renders. This type of transparency requires the existence of rules that guarantee and regulate the right of access to information.

3 It is the information made available to citizens allowing them to actively participate in governance.


Conflict of interest:

Authors declare not to have any conflict of interest.


Authors' contribution:

Maricela María González Pérez and Ana Isabel García Díaz designed the study, analyzed the data and prepared the draft; they also reviewed the writing of the manuscript and approved the version finally submitted.


This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License
Copyright (c) Maricela María González Pérez; Ana Isabel García Díaz