Stakeholder analysis is a way to identify a project’s key stakeholders, assess their interests and needs, and clarify how these may affect the project’s viability. From this analysis, project managers can make plans for how these social and institutional aspects will be addressed. Stakeholder analysis also contributes to project design by identifying the goals and roles of different stakeholder groups, and by helping to formulate appropriate forms of engagement with these groups.
Ultimately, project success depends on selecting stakeholders with whom project staff can jointly work towards agreed outcomes. The participation of stakeholders in both project design and implementation of is often a key to – but not a guarantee of – success. Stakeholder analysis can be usefully implemented at any stage of the project cycle, but its use should always be considered at the outset of a project. The following links to point to resources that provide a deeper understanding and guides to stakeholder mapping and analysis.
Stakeholder analysis. This 2010 book chapter by Will Allen and Margaret Kilvington reminds us that a stakeholder analysis is just one (albeit usually the first) step in building the relationships needed for the success of a participatory project or policy. It covers steps in conducting such an analysis, and then outlines some best practice guidelines.
An applied methodology for stakeholder identification in transdisciplinary research. This 2016 paper by Julia Leventon and colleagues highlights how early engagement with diverse stakeholders creates space for them to influence the research process, including problem definition, from the start. Their suggested process begins with a co-design stage which is unique, and important, in enabling project leaders to understand the concerns and barriers that may be perceived around participating in stakeholder identification. This looks likely to encourage a more active involvement of key players in the subsequent stakeholder analysis and engagement process.
Methodologies for stakeholder analysis – for application in transdisciplinary research projects … This 2014 guide by Margareta Lelea and colleagues focuses on methodologies that can be used in planning, facilitating and analyzing stakeholder-oriented processes in transdisciplinary projects. The guide reinforces why stakeholder analysis methodologies are required, not only for identifying stakeholders and understanding their relationships, but also for effectively integrating them in a transdisciplinary research process, for example via stakeholder meetings, feedback seminars, ‘platforms’ for facilitated discussion, and collaborative learning processes. The goal of this document is to provide an easy-to-use guide.
Who’s in and why? A typology of stakeholder analysis methods for natural resource management. This 2009 paper by Mark Reed and colleagues reviews the development of stakeholder analysis in business management, development and natural resource management. The normative and instrumental theoretical basis for stakeholder analysis is discussed, and a stakeholder analysis typology is proposed. This consists of methods for: i) identifying stakeholders; ii) differentiating between and categorising stakeholders; and iii) investigating relationships between stakeholders.
Stakeholder participation for environmental management: A literature review. This 2008 review by Mark Reed first traces the development of participatory approaches in different disciplinary and geographical contexts, and reviews typologies that can be used to categorise and select participatory methods. Eight features of best practice participation are identified. These emphasise the need to replace a ‘‘tool-kit’’ approach, with an approach that emphasises participation as a process.
From client to project stakeholders: a stakeholder mapping approach. This paper by Robert Newcombe uses the example of the construction industry to argue that the concept of client, which has prevailed throughout the 20th century, is now obsolete and is being replaced by the reality of project stakeholders. An example of the technique of stakeholder mapping to a large construction project demonstrates the importance to project managers of conducting the analysis of the power, predictability and interest of key project stakeholders.
Stakeholder mapping and analysis. This guide from BetterEvaluation points out that most interventions have a wide range of stakeholders, some more influential than others – either because they benefit from the (project), they fund some of its activities, or have political interests. Not all stakeholders have the same stake in the interventions and it is important to recognize the level of influence each stakeholder has on the project and its evaluation.
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