Stakeholder analysis

Stakeholders are defined in many ways. Traditionally in UNICEF guidance, stakeholders are defined as
"people or groups that have an interest in a program or activity and/or are likely to be affected by it."
Stakeholder analysis as a strategic tool often casts wider, including all the actors who can influence or be
influenced by the achievement of a given goal or undertaking. These include the winners (those who have
something to gain by achieving a goal) and the losers (those who may lose in power, status or material
wealth). This is important if we are to take into consideration and somehow respond to those actors who
may feel threatened by and resist change. It is also important to distinguish primary stakeholders, those who
benefit from an intervention or programme.
Stakeholder analysis is used to understand who the key actors are around a given issue and to gauge the
importance of different groups' interests and potential influence. It also serves to highlight groups who are
most affected by a given issue and least able to influence the situation.
How to use this framework
Stakeholder analysis should be focused on a single issue, e.g. girls’ education or recruitment of child
soldiers. It can serve as an analytical framework for processing data or as a data collection exercise to be
done in the field:
based on review of existing information (documentary review);
in group meetings;
through key informant interviews (centrally or in the field).
It can serve in an assessment exercise, in a programme monitoring exercise (e.g. to further probe positions/
interests as the programme advances) and in an evaluation (e.g. how have interests changed, supporting or
impeding programme progress).
What it can tell us
Identify different groups that can be sources of information;
Interpret perspectives provided by each group;
Identify who could positively or negatively influence programme responses;
To support realistic programme planning and management, data collectors must look carefully
 within the group of primary stakeholders, recognising that this group is not uniform, but include
sub-groups with different characteristics (e.g. women, children, leaders); and
 at the wider group of actors that might positively or negatively influence a situation.
A "do no harm" perspective (see content sheet "Do no harm") must foresee which non-primary
stakeholder groups might seek to benefit from a programme at the expense of primary stakeholders
Direct capacity-building efforts
 A capacity-building approach to the projects should seek to increase primary stakeholders’ influence
over the achievement of a goal (i.e. move primary stakeholders towards sector 1 in the Venn
diagram on the next page).
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Be influenced
Two circles distinguish stakeholders:
 Primary stakeholders (those who will benefit from an intervention) are represented inside the dotted oval;
 The wider context of stakeholders is represented by the larger oval.
Two axes (influence/be influenced and win/lose) divide the diagram into four areas:
Sector 1: Those who can influence the situation and benefit from it; examples:
 Outsiders: local and international NGOs, political factions;
 Primary stakeholders: influential actors (e.g. leaders).
Sector 2: Those who are influenced by the changes and will benefit from it; examples:
 Primary stakeholders;
 Non-primary stakeholders who will nonetheless gain from the project’s outcomes.
Sector 3: Those who cannot influence the achievement of a goal and will be affected negatively by it;
 Primary stakeholders and outsiders whose status or relative wealth are changed by an activity.
Sector 4: Those who can influence but will lose from the achievement of a goal. This is an important area to
consider, as it will include those who actively oppose the achievement of a project; examples:
 External factions of local leaders among the primary stakeholders opposed to change of their status.
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To identify interests, consider:
 Expectations (positive and negative)
 Benefits or losses stakeholders are likely to
face (power, status, economic resources:
financial and non-financial)
 Relations with other stakeholders
 Potential conflicts between interests and rights
 Who has influence
 Who is affected
Resources that can be
mobilised in support of
 Information
 Economic resources
 Status (also
 Legitimacy / authority
 Coercion
Identifying stakeholders
requires consideration about
particularly vulnerable
Stakeholder group
or sub-group
Key interests
potential impact (+, -)
Potential influence
Source: There are numerous sources on stakeholder analysis; for example, Benjamin Crosby (March 1992)
“Stakeholder analysis: A vital tools for strategic managers”, Technical Notes no. 2, USAID; and ODA, now
DFID (July 1995), “Guidance note on how to do stakeholder analysis”, Social Development Department.
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