Stakeholder Analysis: Power versus Interest Grid

April, 2018

Power versus Interest Grid thumbnail

In 2018, I led one of my library’s divisions through a stakeholder analysis exercise. Specifically, we engaged in individual, small-group, and large-group processes to develop a Power versus Interest Grid. The information found here documents (a) the professional literature on which the exercise was based; (b) the procedures and forms that were used; and (c) a chart that visually summarizes the outcome of the exercise.

Stakeholder Analysis Worksheet

Introduction

This worksheet provides an opportunity for you to reflect on the various groups of people that can be considered as stakeholders to your organization’s work. Stakeholder analysis is an important foundation for strategic planning (Bryson, 2011).

Crosby (1991) explained that

The purpose of stakeholder analysis is to indicate whose interests should be taken into account when making a decision. At the same time, the analysis ought to indicate why those interests should be taken into account. (Crosby, 1991, p. 1)

According to Flicker (2014),

In the 1960s, the term became popular in the management literature as a deliberate play on words to challenge the notion that corporate decision-makers should take into account only the interests of stockholders. The definition was expanded to include those who ought to be considered when management had to make important choices—consumers, suppliers, creditors, competitors and employees. Today, popular usage of the term denotes people, groups or networks that have a vested interest or are affected by or can influence actions.” (Introduction section, para. 2).

Crosby (1991) provided the following general guidelines for determining whether a group or actor should be included in one’s analysis:

Generally, stakeholder analysis focuses on two key elements: groups or actors are analyzed in terms of: a) the interest they take in a particular issue and, b) the quantity and types of resources they can mobilize to affect outcomes regarding that issue. . . . As a rule of thumb, one might apply the following: only those groups or actors with real and mobilizable resources that can be applied for or against the organization and its interests to the issue at hand should be included. (p. 2)

References

Bryson, J. M. (2011). Strategic planning for public and nonprofit organizations: A guide to strengthening and sustaining organizational achievement (4th ed.). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.

Crosby, B. L. (1991). Stakeholder analysis: a vital tool for strategic managers. Washington, DC: USAID Implementing Policy Change Project. Retrieved from http://pdf.usaid.gov/pdf_docs/PNABR482.pdf

Flicker, S. (2014). Stakeholder analysis. In D. Coghlan & M. Brydon-Miller (Eds.), The SAGE encyclopedia of action research (Vol. 2, pp. 727–728). London: SAGE Publications. doi:10.4135/9781446294406.n319

Stakeholder Identification Exercise

In seeking to identify stakeholders, consider entities or groups of people in the following categories:

  • Recipients of your services
  • Suppliers/partners/enablers
  • Funders/decision-makers
  • Policymakers/regulators

It may help to ask yourself the following questions:

  • Who benefits ultimately from your work?
  • To whom do you deliver your work products?
  • On whose cooperation or support do you depend for success?
  • Who provides goods or services that you use to perform your work?
  • Whose opinion of the organization’s services is significant?
  • Who sets standards to which you adhere?
  • Who has a claim on your attention, resources, or output?

Use the lines below to identify entities or groups that you think might qualify as stakeholders in relation to the work that you personally do for the organization. Try to place the stakeholders you think are most important at the top of the list.

  1. ___________________________________________________
  2. ___________________________________________________
  3. ___________________________________________________
  4. ___________________________________________________
  5. ___________________________________________________
  6. ___________________________________________________
  7. ___________________________________________________
  8. ___________________________________________________
  9. ___________________________________________________
  10. ___________________________________________________

Now that you’ve begun to think about stakeholders from your individual point of view, it’s appropriate to broaden the scope of your thinking to include the organization of which you’re a part.

Survey Data Visualization

Facilitation Procedure

1. Overview of process

Facilitator uses the “Stakeholder Analysis Worksheet” document to explain the purpose of stakeholder analysis, define the stakeholder concept, and explain the process to be followed.

2. Solo work

Using the prompts on the “Stakeholder Analysis Worksheet,” participants identify stakeholder groups that are relevant to their own jobs, attempting to list them in descending order of priority.

3. Small group work

In groups of about 4 people, participants discuss the stakeholder groups that are relevant to their work, identifying areas of commonality and difference.

4. Large group work

Facilitator leads participants to create a list of stakeholders that are relevant to the organization, calling on small groups to take turns in adding one stakeholder group to the list and explaining its significance briefly; facilitator then hears comments from other small groups (stating if they had also identified it in their group and/or whether they saw anything differently).

5. Summary of stakeholder groups

Facilitator works through the list to identify 10 top stakeholder groups; assistant enters this information into a survey instrument (see #6).

6. Survey response

Participants complete survey individually; for each of the 10 stakeholder groups, participants rate the stakeholder group’s power and interest; additionally, they answer whether each stakeholder group is relevant to their work.

7. Graphing

Facilitator processes survey data to produce a Power versus Interest Grid that visually displays the group’s stakeholder analysis.

Want to learn more about stakeholder analysis and related topics?

Click the buttons below to see relevant entries in my bibliography, SmithFile.