Identifying Stakeholders in the Organization

You may know the term “interested parties” or “stakeholders.”

One step I usually take when laying out strategic planning processes, whether in the public or private sector, is to identify all stakeholders and develop strategies to deal with each one.

In this Management Tips we will address the identification of stakeholders. In the next one, we will show how to develop strategies for the stakeholders from a specially designed “Strategies for Stakeholders” matrix.

Do you know how to identify the stakeholders of your organization?

But first, what does it mean to be a stakeholder?

Stakeholders are the actors affected by some measure of an organization’s performance, not necessarily economic. A relationship with an organization is often indirect and does not necessarily involve business transactions.

Generally, stakeholders are divided into a more direct group (such as employees and shareholders, financial institutions, suppliers and customers) and a more indirect group (such as communities, government, media, interest groups, competition and advocacy groups).

Stakeholders may be the reason a company enjoys an advantage, positioning in a larger context, or redress.

Figure 1 shows a list of possible stakeholders.

To properly identify stakeholders, change your point of view to try to see the organization from the outside. Consider your SWOT analysis; take note of the interest groups that stand out as you the analyze the external environment.

The next step is to identify stakeholder needs, expectations and requirements.

A need is a state of deprivation of some fundamental satisfaction: food, shelter, security, etc. Needs are not created; they exist independently of any stimulus.

A desire / expectation can be understood as a lack of a specific satisfaction, but also as the objective of meeting a need. It is when you want something, like a product or service, that interests you for some reason. You do not necessarily need it.

Requirement is a concept that has its etymological root in the Latin requīsitus, which in turn derives from the Latin verb “requirere,” which can be translated as “to ask” or “to seek.”

It is something essential for the development of something else. A requirement is therefore something that is sought after, a condition to be met to satisfy a need.

A requirement is usually specified by means of a metric.

When identifying the needs, expectations and requirements of stakeholders, make them visible to your colleagues and communicate who these groups are to everyone in the organization. It is beneficial for everyone to be aware of the importance these groups have for your organization.

Once stakeholders, their desires, expectations and requirements have been identified and laid out, the organization concludes the stage of stakeholder identification. You are, therefore, ready to develop strategies to best deal with each of these groups.

In the next Management Tips, we will discuss how we can devise strategies to deal with each of the stakeholders.

See you next time!

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