Stakeholder Analysis | A framework for better stakeholder understanding

Updated: Apr 24, 2019

VUCAP Stakeholder Analysis Map
VUCAP Stakeholder Analysis Map

The stakeholder analysis is a key component to communications strategy development. By conducting the analysis, the decision makers in your organisation are better equipped to assess the human forces that are supportive of your objectives or are detracting from your objectives.

Conducting the stakeholder analysis in accordance with stakeholder forecasting and risk analysis, gives a robust picture of what we our stakeholders will be doing now and into the future. Using this analysis the organisation can work out how to engage with each stakeholder based on their shifting levels of interest and power, now and into the future.

What Is Stakeholder Analysis?

Stakeholder analysis is a process of systematically gathering and analysing qualitative and quantitative information to determine whose interests should be taken into account when developing the organisation's strategy or implementing plans and how to engage stakeholder.

Points to consider: An analysis should identify the characteristics of the stakeholder and relationship to the organisations objective (this gives some context). However a deeper analysis should also identify the impact and likelihood of the impact on the organisation's objectives, as well as what interventions are suitable for each stakeholder based on their power and interest.
The VUCAP Spectrum of stakeholder engagement can assist in understanding what level engagement and techniques should be used to effectively manage stakeholder relations.

Who Is a Stakeholder?

People or organisations will have interests in your objectives and in some cases they will also have power to affect your objectives. This interest and power can often manifest into action where the person or organisation takes a position or a "stake". We consider these to be stakeholders. Organisations with power and interest in your objective, who directly or indirectly act in accordance with that power or interest.

Points to consider: At VUCAP we generically define stakeholders into the categories, these being, Government, Community Organisations, Non Government Organisations, or Commercial Organisations or Individuals. Depending on the organisation and the objectives, these categories can be much more specific.

Which Stakeholder Characteristics Are Analysed?

The organisation should define the stakeholder characteristics that should be analysed. This will need to be in context with the organisation's strategic objectives.

Points to consider: Typically, stakeholder characteristics can fall into the following general groups; the stakeholder's ability to have a negative or positive affect on the Ultimate Objective, our People and Culture, our Financial Position including Firm Value, Environmental (Green Factors), our Public Image & Relations and our Learning & Development (our ability learn, develop, retain and use information).

Why Is this Analysis Useful?

Decision makers can use the stakeholder analysis to identify key stakeholders and assess their ability and probability to have impact the organisations objectives both positive and negative.

With this understanding decision makers can determine how much time, cost and scope to allow for each stakeholder or groups of stakeholders.

By doing this early in the decision making cycle, organisations can encourage and support stakeholders to support their objectives or prevent misunderstandings that may come from poor communications efforts with the stakeholder or stakeholder group.

Points to consider: use the stakeholder analysis in conjunction with other methodologies, such as risk analysis. Use technology on large complex stakeholder analysis efforts to gather data and and identify changes in stakeholder power or interest. Remember that stakeholders with high power and low interest, may be worth considerable investment in especially if they are likely to change their level of interest in the future. Hence the importance of stakeholder mapping and stakeholder forecasting.

Strategic Recommendations & Conclusion

1. Conduct your analysis of stakeholders early in the decision making process. understand the impact that stakeholders can have on your objectives.

2. Use data analytics and predictive models to understand your stakeholders in large complex situations.

3. Use the spectrum of engagement to understand which engagement methods are best suited to the stakeholder or stakeholder group. For example, it may be detrimental to be sending news letters to people who you have defined as partners, but it may be a good a tactic to increase interest from people who are lower down the spectrum.

4. Be creative with your engagement approaches. Use video and experiences as ways to truely deepen engagement and increase interest.