2016-03-31 | Stakeholder Mapping

Stakeholder Mapping is a process and visual tool to clarify and categorize the various stakeholders by drawing further pictures of what the stakeholder groups are, which interests they represent, the amount of power they possess, whether they represent inhibiting or supporting factors for the organization to realize its objectives, or methods in which they should be dealt with. It allows to understand who the stakeholders are for the organisation.

The word 'stakeholder' has assumed a prominent place in public and nonprofit management theory and practice in the last 20 years. The term refers to persons, groups or organizations that must somehow be taken into account by leaders, managers, campaigners and front-line staff. A stakeholder approach, defines a stakeholder as any group or individual who can affect or is affected by the achievement of the organization's objectives. Typical definitions of stakeholder from the public and nonprofit sector literatures cover the following variants: All parties who will be affected by or will affect the organization's strategy. Any person group or organization that can place a claim on the organization's attention, resources, or output, or is affected by that output. People or small groups with the power to respond to, negotiate with, and change the strategic future of the organization. Those individuals or groups who depend on the organization to fulfill their own goals and on whom, in turn, the organization depends.

A lot of quantitative and qualitative studies report the importance of paying attention to stakeholders. Failure to attend to the information and concerns of stakeholders clearly is a kind of flaw in thinking or action that too often and too predictably leads to poor performance, outright failure or even disaster. Stakeholder analyses are now arguably more important than ever because of the increasingly interconnected nature of the world. Choose any public problem - economic development, poor educational performance, natural resources management, crime, AIDS, global warming, terrorism -and it is clear that 'the problem' encompasses or affects numerous people, groups and organizations. In this shared power world, no one is fully in charge; no organization 'contains' the problem. Instead many individuals, groups and organizations are involved or affected or have some partial responsibility to act. Figuring out what the problem is and what solutions might work are actually part of the problem, and taking stakeholders into account is a crucial aspect of problem solving: multistakeholder approach.

Definition

Stakeholder Mapping is a process and visual tool to clarify and categorize the various stakeholders by drawing further pictures of what the stakeholder groups are, which interests they represent, the amount of power they possess, whether they represent inhibiting or supporting factors for the organization to realize its objectives, or methods in which they should be dealt with. It allows to understand who the stakeholders are for the organisation. Stakeholder mapping is a collaborative process of analysis, debate and discussion that draws from multiple perspectives to determine appropriate partners.

Methodology:

Stakeholder power/interest Grid

Why use this technique?

If a NGO wants to determine impact that stakeholders have on his project, the stakeholder power/interest analysis can help in this. It can also help selecting the proper communication approach for each stakeholder group. This technique is also known as stakeholder power/interest matrix, Stakeholder power/interest grid, PI grid, Influence/Interest matrix.

This model classifies stakeholders based on their power and interest in the project. It allocates the stakeholders to one of the categories:

  • high power / high interest
  • high power / low interest
  • low power / high interest
  • low power / low interest

How do I do it?

Step 1: Identify stakeholders. (describe some useful techniques to do that)

Step 2: Draw a two dimensional-matrix ,see an example below:

Step 3: Assign stakeholders to one of four categories.

Depending on the category, this model suggests different ways how to deal with these stakeholders. Stakeholders with high power and low interest shall be kept satisfied. Those with low interest and low power shall be only involved with minimum effort. A stakeholder with low power and high interest in a project shall be keep informed and finally the high power, high interest stakeholders shall be closely involved and informed. This estimation has to be decided by each organisanisation.

Tips:

  • Common mistake is to draw the stakeholders where they should be or perhaps where a project manager would like them to be instead of illustrating the real situation.

  • For a balanced, objective view it is recommended to do it with a project manager and/or other colleagues.

  • Each quadrant in the matrix indicates the recommended communication strategy with stakeholders.

Advantages:

  • Helps discovering where the real power over a project is located and therefore making better project decisions.

  • Helps finding the right communication means with stakeholders.

Disadvantages:

  • Can be subjective.

  • To benefit must be performed on regular basis.

  • Plotting a stakeholder on this matrix does not show his attitude towards our initiative. We do not know whether a stakeholder is for or against it. Sometimes symbols like (+, -, or 0) are used to indicate that a stakeholder shows positive, negative or neutral attitude.

Stakeholder mapping as 5-step approach

Mapping can be broken down into four phases:

  1. Identifying: listing relevant groups, organizations, and people.

  2. Analyzing: understanding stakeholder perspectives and interests.

  3. Mapping: visualizing relationships to objectives and other stakeholders.

  4. Prioritizing: ranking stakeholder relevance and identifying issues.

The process of stakeholder mapping is as important as the result, and the quality of the process depends heavily on the knowledge of the people participating.

IDENTIFYING

The first step in the mapping process is to understand that there is no magic list of stakeholders. The final list will depend on your NGO vision and strategy, its impacts, and your current engagement objectives—as a result it should not remain static. This list will change as the environment around you evolves and as stakeholders themselves make decisions or change their opinions.

Action: Brainstorm a list of stakeholders without screening, including everyone who has an interest in your objectives today and who may have one tomorrow. Where possible, identify individuals. Use the following list to help you brainstorm:

  • Owners (e.g. investors, shareholders, agents, analysts, and ratings agencies);
  • Customers (e.g. direct customers, indirect customers, and advocates);
  • Employees (e.g. current employees, potential employees, retirees, representatives, and dependents);
  • Industry (e.g. suppliers, competitors, industry associations, industry opinion leaders, and media);
  • Community (e.g. residents near company facilities, chambers of commerce, resident associations, schools, community organizations, and special interest groups);
  • Environment (e.g. nature, nonhuman species, future generations, scientists, ecologists, spiritual communities, advocates, and NGOs);
  • Government (e.g. public authorities, and local policymakers; regulators; and opinion leaders);
  • Civil society organizations (e.g. NGOs, faith-based organizations, and labor unions).

Here are some additional considerations to help you brainstorm:

  • Learn from past and ongoing engagement: Look at your organization’s existing engagement activities. What are the objectives of these activities? What stakeholders communicate regularly with your company? What groups do they cover well? Where can you reach beyond this existing comfort zone to engage with lesser-known stakeholders?

  • Be forward thinking: Consider potential stakeholders from new markets, new technologies, new customers, and new impending regulations. Depending on your objectives, the relevant stakeholders you need to engage with may not play the usual sustainability roles but may instead serve other functions relevant to your business.

  • Be diverse: Make sure to include a rich diversity of stakeholder expertise, geography, and tactics from across the spectrum. This is an opportunity to reach out and mix the old with the new, including individuals from each of the following stakeholder categories: influencers, collaborators, advocators, and implementation partners.

  • Be social: Social media provides an unparalleled opportunity to identify and reach lesser-known stakeholder groups. Canvas blogs, forums, networking, reviews, and news sites to discover stakeholders relevant to your business and to learn about their interest in your activities.

  • Be aware: People have a tendency to focus on formal authorities in the mapping process, but the loudest voices or heaviest campaigners are not necessarily your key stakeholders. Step back and add silent members to your list because they may have a hidden wealth of expertise.

  • Be Gender sensitive - Be aware of the gender dimension of your stakeholders and undertakings. Men and women may be effected differently, and may have different expertise and interests. Make sure to include women in your stakeholder list.

ANALYZING

Once you have identified a list of stakeholders, it is useful to do further analysis to better understand their relevance and the perspective they offer, to understand their relationship to the issue(s) and each other, and to prioritize based on their relative usefulness for this engagement. There is a list of criteria to help you analyze each identified stakeholder:

  • Contribution (value): Does the stakeholder have information, counsel, or expertise on the issue that could be helpful to your undertaking?
  • Willingness to engage: How willing is the stakeholder to engage?
  • Influence: How much influence does the stakeholder have? (You will need to clarify “who” they influence, e.g., other NGOs, companies, the public, investors, etc.)
  • Necessity of involvement: Is this someone who could derail or delegitimize the process if they were not included in the engagement?
  • Action: Use these five criteria to create and populate a chart with short descriptions of how stakeholders fulfill them. Assign values (low, medium, or high) to these stakeholders. This first data set will help you decide which stakeholders to engage.

Using the table shows an objective analysis of the various stakeholders:

Stake-holder Contribution = Expertise Willingness Influence = Value* Necessity of Involvem. = Value
SH1 High: Knowledge in energy efficiency High: Directly affected Low: Unknown organization Low: not an outspoken stakeholder
SH2        
SH3        
       

*) This is very important. Women or youth organisations are often not influential but of very high value. This needs to be considered for the stakeholder mapping.

MAPPING

Mapping stakeholders is a visual exercise and analysis tool that you can use to further determine which stakeholders are most useful to engage with. Mapping allows you to see where stakeholders stand when evaluated by the same key criteria and compared to each other and helps you visualize the often complex interplay of issues and relationships created in the criteria chart above.

Draw a mapping as follows to identify key stakeholders.

  1. Draw a quadrant using two axes labeled “Low” to “High”.
  2. Add “Expertise,” “Willingness,” and “Value” to the criteria chart, as above.
  3. Assign “Expertise” to the Y-axis and “Willingness” to the X-axis.
  4. Discuss and debate where each stakeholder falls.
  5. Plot the stakeholders on the grid.
  6. Use small, medium, and large circle sizes to denote their “Value”.
  7. To illustrate relationships, use arrows to depict “Influence”. Consider quadrants, circle size, and influence arrows when prioritizing.

PRIORITIZING STAKEHOLDERS AND IDENTIFYING ISSUES It is not practical and usually not necessary to engage with all stakeholder groups with the same level of intensity all of the time. Being strategic and clear about whom you are engaging with and why, before jumping in, can help save both time and money.

Look closely at stakeholder issues and decide whether they are material to your engagement objectives, asking yourself the following questions:

  • What are the issues for these priority stakeholders?
  • Which issues do all stakeholders most frequently express?
  • Are the real issues apparent and relevant to our engagement objectives?

Combined with your criteria chart and mapping, use issue materiality to rank your stakeholders into a prioritized engagement list. You should now have captured the most relevant issues and the most relevant stakeholders.

Tip: Have You Developed the “Right” List? – Check you results!

The key is not to agonize over whether your stakeholder list is “right.” By working through the four steps in the mapping process you will have created a robust, relevant, prioritized stakeholder list—but it will change over time. Instead, focus on whether your list will help you further prepare for your engagement activities. Answer the following questions to see if you are ready to move on:

  • Is our list focused on relevant stakeholders who are important to our current and future efforts?

  • Do we have a good understanding of where stakeholders are coming from, what they may want, whether they would be interested in engaging with our organization, and why?

  • How can we further understand and qualify these stakeholders? Through discussions with internal colleagues? Reading reference reports? Finding specific blogs or Twitter accounts to follow?

  • Based on our prioritized stakeholders, can we define a granular level of engagement? Will this list inform tactics, formats, and investment considerations?

  • Have we given thought to what type of resources (expertise, people, and budget) we need to support our engagement strategy and follow-up activities?

Advantages:

  • Systematic approach takes many factors into consideration.
  • Methodology can be updated easily.

Disadvantages:

  • Time intensive.

Practical part (sub-grantees seek for stakeholders for their project)

Groupwork:

  1. Present the list with the stakeholder.

  2. Screen the list you have worked out with the following questions:

    • Is our list focused on relevant stakeholders who are important to our current and future efforts?
    • Do we have a good understanding of where stakeholders are coming from, what they may want, whether they would be interested in engaging with our organization, and why?
    • How can we further understand and qualify these stakeholders? Through discussions with internal colleagues? Reading reference reports? Finding specific blogs or Twitter accounts to follow?
    • Based on our prioritized stakeholders, can we define a granular level of engagement? Will this list inform tactics, formats, and investment considerations?
    • Have we given thought to what type of resources (expertise, people, and budget) we need to support our engagement strategy and follow-up activities?
  3. Update the list after discussing the questions.

 

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