Using social network and stakeholder analysis to help evaluate infectious waste management: a step towards a holistic assessment

Waste Manag. 2014 May;34(5):938-51. doi: 10.1016/j.wasman.2014.02.011. Epub 2014 Mar 11.


Assessing the strengths and weaknesses of a solid waste management scheme requires an accurate analysis and integration of several determining features. In addition to the technical aspects, any such system shows a complex interaction of actors with varying stakes, decision-making power and influence, as well as a favourable or disabling environment. When capitalizing on the knowledge and experience from a specific case, it is also crucial that experts do not "forget" or underestimate the importance of such social determinants and that they are familiar with the methods and tools to assess them. Social network analysis (SNA) and stakeholder analysis (SA) methods can be successfully applied to better understand actors' role and actions, analyse driving forces and existing coordination among stakeholders, as well as identify bottlenecks in communication which affect daily operations or strategic planning for the future way forward. SNA and SA, appropriately adjusted for a certain system, can provide a useful integration to methods by assessing other aspects to ensure a comprehensive picture of the situation. This paper describes how to integrate SNA and SA in order to survey a solid waste management system. This paper presents the results of an analysis of On-Nuch infectious waste incinerator in Bangkok, Thailand. Stakeholders were interviewed and asked to prioritize characteristics and relationships which they consider particularly important for system development and success of the scheme. In such a way, a large quantity of information about organization, communication between stakeholders and their perception about operation, environmental and health impact, and potential alternatives for the system was collected in a systematic way. The survey results suggest that stakeholders are generally satisfied with the system operation, though communication should be improved. Moreover, stakeholders should be strategically more involved in system development planning, according to their characteristics, to prevent negative reactions.

Keywords: Holistic system assessment; Infectious waste; Non-technical aspects; Social network analysis; Stakeholder analysis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Communication
  • Decision Making
  • Incineration
  • Medical Waste Disposal / methods*
  • Social Networking*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Thailand


  • Medical Waste Disposal