A stakeholder is best defined as “a
person, group or organization that has direct or indirect stake in an organization because it can affect or be affected by
the organization's actions, objectives, and policies”. (BusinessDictionary, 2007). It was in the year 1980 that the
concept of stakeholders was developed by R. Edward Freeman.
A list of stakeholders may include
one or more of the following:
• Labour Unions
• Government regulatory Agencies
• Industry Trade Groups
• Professional Associates
• Prospective employees
• Prospective customers
• Local communities
• National Communities
• Public (Community)
All stakeholders are not essentially
equal and are entitled to different considerations. (BusinessDictionary, 2007). The first is to ascertain who exactly your
stakeholders are. This is where Stakeholder Management comes in. “Stakeholder Management is the process by which you
identify your key stakeholders and win their support. Stakeholder Analysis is the first stage of this, where you identify
and start to understand your most important stakeholders”. (Mindtools, 2007). The proper execution of this process determines
the success or failure of the project involved.
Stakeholder analysis utilizes the technique
of identifying the key people who have to be won over. Next step involves the stakeholder planning process to successfully
build your support.
The key benefits of having stakeholders
• Valuable opinions, views and suggestions of the powerful
stakeholders can help you shape your project while it is still in its nascent stage. This can significantly improve the quality
of your project.
• When you have powerful stakeholders supporting you,
you have access to useful resources as well. This way, the likelihood of your project hitting higher success levels is higher.
• The active participation of your stakeholders in your
project will make them understand the nature of your project and they can then contribute by actively supporting your project.
• By envisaging in advance the reaction of people to
your project, you can build into your plan the actions that will win you people’s support.
It is equally important to prioritize
your stakeholders. Your stakeholder list may comprise of people and organizations. It is important here to identify who are
affected by your work. It is a good idea to classify them “by their power over your work and by their interest in your
work.” For example, your boss is likely to have high power and influence over your projects and high interest. Your
family may have high interest, but are unlikely to have power over it. (Mindtools, 2007). After having a careful analysis,
you will be able identify your key stakeholders. The final and most important stage is to ascertain what exactly motivates
your stakeholders and then adopt the best way to win them. Take into consideration what kind of approach would be required
and what information would the stakeholders need.
Successfully conduction a stakeholder
analysis in the early stages of planning can greatly improve the quality of a project.
MSH, Management Sciences for Health
and UNICEF (2007), “Stakeholder Analysis” Available from: http://erc.msh.org/quality/ittools/itstkan.cfm
Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia (2007)
Available from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stakeholder_%28corporate%29
MindTools, Essential skills for an
excellent career (2007) “Stakeholder Analysis: Winning support for your projects”
Available from: http://www.mindtools.com/pages/ article/newPPM_07.htm