A stakeholder is a person or group interested in the decisions and actions of an organization.

The person or group may be directly affected by what an organization does, or they may have a financial, political or personal interest in its current and future activities.

Stakeholders have specific reasons for their interest in any organization. Employees are stakeholders in in the decisions and actions of their employer because their jobs and income are affected.

Banks or other lenders providing operating capital for that same employer are also stakeholders, for separate reasons, such as locality and profitability.

Identifying a list of stakeholders and determining their distinct needs is the process of developing a stakeholder analysis. Its purpose is to provide useful information for creating policy and action plans.

Not all stakeholders are equally significant in every situation. The interest of lenders may be more important to a start-up company, while the interest of employees may become more important when the company grows, and experiences more business than it can handle.

What Are the Steps to Develop a Stakeholder Analysis?

For achieving the best end results, here are eight steps to developing a stakeholder analysis:

1

Plan the process

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Determine the steps and set a timeline.

2

Select and define the goal

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Set the desired, specific and definable outcome of the process. 

3

Identify the key stakeholders

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Make a list of all people or groups with possible interests or concerns in the desired outcome. Prioritize the list and select the top stakeholders.

4

Adapt the tools to collect information

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Chart the common characteristics of the top stakeholders, accumulate their contact details, and develop a questionnaire.

5

Collect and record information.

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Implement the questionnaire by in-person interview, phone or email.

6

Create a stakeholder table.

Collate information collected on a spreadsheet.

7

Analyze the stakeholder table.

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Create a reference chart to categorize top stakeholders’ opinions and positions.

8

Use the charted information. 

Present results, based on the stakeholder table, for internal and external decision making.

Following these steps will result in a professional analysis to achieve the desired outcome.

A visual representation of stakeholder data may be presented in the form of a map or a matrix.

Why is a Stakeholder Analysis Important?

Knowing about the players in a ball game or the actors in a movie is helpful, before attending the event.  In the same way, knowing the important players and actors in a business or political situation can provide useful information at the outset.

Getting to Know the Players

The important players and actors are referred to as stakeholders. Figuring out which people or groups of people are the most important stakeholders to achieve a specifc goal is known as a stakeholder analysis.

A stakeholder analysis is important because the people and groups of people represent power. Their opinions are important to understand who has political and social power, and who can influence the outcome of a situation.

Understanding the Needs

It’s easy to understand why a company must know its customers and its competition to succeed in the marketplace. But it also needs to consider the needs and concerns of its lenders and its employees. Those people and organizations are stakeholders with legitimate interests in how the company operates.

Other stakeholders include the city and state where a company is located, trade organizations to which it belongs and state and federal legislators making laws affecting it.

Failing to consider the needs, concerns, and opinions of powerful stakeholders can create detrimental results for any company. Employers can go on strike. Lenders and stockholders can lose faith and pull out their money. And government officials at every level can cause delays and interference in commercial transactions.

Stakeholder Analysis Example

Project management,is one of the ways stakeholder analysis example, are typically used inside a company.

An internal application of the eight steps by a manufacturer might result in identifying the following categories of stakeholders: owners, managers, sales people, marketing team, product design, assemblers, maintenance personnel and administrative assistants.

Each of these general categories could be broken down into more detailed stakeholder positions as well, especially if the company has several locations making different products.

In addition, consideration may be given to the families of employees in each category.

Interviewing people representing each category provides the data needed to create a stakeholder table, and to analyze the information collected to make informed decisions.

Political campaigns are another typical stakeholder analysis example. Identifying potential contributors, supporters, voters and adversaries is a necessary first step to winning elections. Interviewing people in each category provides crucial data for decision making throughout a political race.

Use of Stakeholder Input

Identifying and contacting stakeholders would be the ideal way to begin a project, once a goal is set. Information collected during the project is used to inform leaders and decision makers for achieving their desired outcome.

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