Stakeholder Analysis

A to Z of
Creativity Techniques
Soft Systems Method
Sticking Dots
Stakeholder Analysis (Mason and Mitroff, 1981) looks at how groups of people might affect the outcomes of a proposal by the way they react. To identify stakeholders the following checklist may prove useful:
  • Who are the sources of reaction or discontent to what is going on?
  • Who have relevant positional responsibility?
  • Who do others regard as ‘important’ actors’?
  • Who participate in activities?
  • Who shape or influence opinions about the issues involved?
  • Who fall in demographic groups affected by the problem?
  • Who have clear roles in the situation (e.g. customer, friend, adviser)?
  • Who are in areas adjacent to the situation?

Using a matrix like the one below, stakeholders can be plotted and categorised both by the chance of their affecting the situation, and by the scale of impact they would have if they did. Should any quadrant in the matrix appear empty, check that you have really included everyone, or plot the scale of the stakeholders influence (high or low) against whether they would support or oppose your project.

Impact Unlikely Impact Likely
Impact, if it occurred,Would be high
Chairman of the Board
Chief accountant
My manager
Key customer
Impact, if it occurred,Would be low
Reprographics Department
My secretary

Listing any assumptions that stakeholders are making could prove helpful e.g. using Assumption Surfacing, carefully assess the list, especially in relation to the stakeholder for whom they have been derived. Ask yourself does this actor have any special power in the situation, and if so are there any of his or her assumptions that could have a considerable effect on your project? How could this stakeholder be influenced to change their point or course of action.