Roles of Different Stakeholders

Vesa Purho
Development Manager, Nokia

When you plan your documentation strategy or think of making major changes in your documentation environment, like moving into single sourcing, you must think about the various stakeholders who have interest in and power over your decisions. A method called Stakeholder Mapping can assist you in identifying the various stakeholders and planning how to communicate with them.

Stakeholder Mapping, as described in Exploring Corporate Strategy (Prentice Hall 2002) by Gerry Johnson and Kevan Scholes, identifies stakeholder expectations and power. You have to judge the stakeholders on two issues:

  • Are they interested in impressing their expectations on your decisions?
  • Do they have the means to actually influence your decisions?

With those two aspects, a power-interest matrix can be created. It looks like the following:

Stakholder Mapping matrix

The key players (segment D) should naturally be the major consideration when creating new strategies. They are highly interested in your decisions and also have the power to influence them. The power may be direct, like your boss or managers above him, but also indirect; for example, they may be in control of some of the key resources needed in implementing the strategy or they have such a high status in the organisation that even though they are not directly above you in the chain of command, they can influence those who are.

Segment C is often the most difficult relationship to plan for because although stakeholders in this group are generally quite passive, if their level of interest is underrated and they do not receive enough information about the planned changes, they may reposition themselves to segment D and disrupt the change process. It is wise to find out the expectations of this group as early as possible so that you can successfully communicate with them and prevent any sudden changes in their level of interest.

Also, segment B is important because although they may not have high power over your decisions, they can be very useful allies in influencing the attitudes of more powerful stakeholders.

Stakeholder Mapping is a useful tool to identify the roles of different stakeholders and to decide whether or not you should try to reposition certain stakeholders to lessen an influence of a key player or to acquire more key players to back up your efforts. You can also use Stakeholder Mapping to analyse who are the key blockers and facilitators to the change and to determine how they will be addressed, for example, through education or persuasion.

References

Exploring Corporate Strategy
Gerry Johnson and Kevan Scholes
2002, Upper Saddle River, NJ
Prentice Hall
ISBN: 0273651129


This article is the personal opinion of the author and does not necessarily reflect the opinion or practice of Nokia.

 

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