Stakeholder Analysis

Stakeholder Analysis
  • Also known as Stakeholder Mapping.

    Variants include Stakeholder Management, Resistance Analysis and Communications Charter.

    A Stakeholder is any party who may have an interest in an organization’s activity or could be affected by its outcomes. Stakeholders can be any internal or external individuals, groups, departments, business units, or organizations. Primary stakeholders are those who are part of the economic transactions of the business, while secondary stakeholders are those who are affected by or can affect the business in someway.

    Stakeholder Examples
    Examples of stakeholders for an organization

    Stakeholder analysis is the process of identifying and analyzing the stakeholders that are likely to affect or be affected by a particular project or other organizational activity. It can be done once in a while or on a regular basis to track the attitudes and behaviors of stakeholders over time. Stakeholder analysis is widely used in project management, conflict resolution, organizational transformation and change management.

    In project management, stakeholder analysis is used to develop engagement and cooperation between project team and project stakeholders. This will lead to less conflict and more cooperation during the implementation of the project. It helps to identify the people who need to be engaged, consulted or informed about the project activities and issues. Additionally, it will help to identify other people who could impact or be impacted by the project outcome in a positive or negative way.

    Project Stakeholder Examples
    Examples of stakeholders for a particular project

    The first step is to identify the stakeholders of the project. Start by brainstorming and listing the individuals and groups who may have a stake in the project. Once you have developed a list of stakeholders, you need to group them into logical categories such as external stakeholders, process team, senior managers, etc. Affinity mapping can be used to organize and make sense of the various stakeholder groups.

    Project Stakeholder Structure
    The first step is to identify the stakeholders and group them into logical categories

    Next, you need to analyze stakeholders based on their roles and characteristics. Stakeholder analysis involves studying multiple stakeholder characteristics and analyze their level of involvement. This article focuses on four characteristics which are:

    1. The power and influence they hold (determined by their positions).
    2. Whether they are aware of the project and its impact.
    3. Whether they are interested in the project outcome.
    4. Whether they are supportive or resistant to the project or change.
    Power-Interest Characteristics
    Key sakeholder characteristics
    The Four Characteristics of Stakeholders
    The four characteristics of stakeholders can be summarized in a table

    Power-Interest Matrix

    One of the most widely used tools for analyzing stakeholders is the power-interest matrix. It is a four-field matrix that classifies stakeholders into four groups according to the power they hold and whether they are interested in the project or not. There are four groups of stakeholders according to the power-interest matrix, which are key players, context setters, defenders and crowd.

    Power-Interest Matrix

    Now that you have an idea about the level of involvement each stakeholder has, gaps between the current and the desired involvement levels shall be identified, and actions required to close those gaps shall be implemented. You may use the following involvement planning worksheet to assess where stakeholders are now as well as where they need to be in terms of project involvement.

    Involvement Planning Worksheet
    Involvement Planning Worksheet

    The last step is to create a communication plan to send the right message to the right stakeholder at the right time. The plan should provide information such as the person who is going to communicate with each stakeholder, the key message that needs to be communicated, and the communication method to be used (e.g. informal chat, invite to team meetings, emails, etc.). You may use the following worksheet to plan your communication actions.

    Communication Action Worksheet
    Communication Action Worksheet


    Consider the below table, then plot the stakeholders on an empty power-interest matrix taking into consideration the four characteristics of stakeholders: power, awareness, interest and support.

    The four characteristics of stakeholders:
    Power-interest matrix
    A power-interest matrix to represent the ‘power’ and ‘interest’ characteristics
    Power-interest matrix
    A third dimension to represent the ‘awareness’ characteristic
    Power-interest matrix
    A fourth dimension to represent the ‘support’ characteristic

    Stakeholders often move around the matrix. Some Stakeholders will become more interested as the implementation progresses and they start to see that the changes will affect them. Others may become more powerful through internal promotion or transfer. Because of that, the analysis needs to be carried out regularly throughout the project.

    Power-Interest Characteristics

    There are many tools that can help you to analyze and manage your stakeholders. One of the simplest ways is to use this stakeholder analysis template.

    Other Formats

    If you want to use the following three documents in your training courses, the PPTX versions are available to buy from our Shop page.

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