Last edited 25 Aug 2020

Stakeholder map

The term 'stakeholder' refers to anyone that has an interest in a project and can influence its success. Stakeholders may be able to help a project succeed, or to prevent it from happening.

Examples of stakeholders include:

Stakeholder mapping is a systematic approach to managing relationships with stakeholders to ensure that the positive impacts of stakeholders are maximised and negative impacts are minimised.

As stakeholders can influence the success of a project, it is very important that they are identified as early as possible and that their potential influence is systematically assessed. This might include an assessment of:

Stakeholder assessments are complicated by the fact that stakeholders may not all have the same objectives.

A first step in considering how to interact with different stakeholders can be the preparation of a stakeholder map or stakeholder matrix. This might categorise stakeholders as potential advocates that can help make the project happen, indifferent stakeholders, or opponents that may try to prevent it happening. They might then be assessed in terms of their potential influence on the project, the consequences of that influence on the project and the potential for changing their position (for example their willingness to engage in dialogue).

Resources are best targeted at stakeholders with a strong potential to influence the project, the consequences of which would be serious, but where there is a good possibility of changing their position.

A stakeholder management plan sets out the strategy for engaging with (or perhaps not engaging with) each stakeholder. It will allocate responsibility for that engagement, define the form that the engagement will take and what it is intended to achieve, as well as setting out how that engagement will be monitored and how any feedback will be processed. A stakeholder management plan should also include contact details for stakeholders and may include other background information.

Preparing a stakeholder management plan should not be a paper exercise, but should be a genuine process of understanding motives, building relationships and support, minimising risks and maximising opportunities. The stakeholder management plan should be kept up to date, and stakeholders should be kept informed about developments on the project.

A variety of communicating methods can be used to help stakeholders properly understand the project (such as models and visualisations) and a variety of consultation methods can be adopted:

  • One to one consultations.
  • Meetings.
  • Focus groups.
  • Questionnaires.
  • Exhibitions and open-days.
  • Workshops.
  • Websites.
  • Printed materials.
  • The use of specialist toolkits.

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