Stakeholder Analysis | Definition and best method (2024)

Stakeholder Analysis | Definition and best method (1)by Tam M. | reviewed 23/04/2024

Analyzing your Stakeholders is crucial to the success of your business or project. This step by step guide shows the best way to analyze stakeholders - by influence (or power) and interest.

What is Stakeholder Analysis?

Stakeholder Analysis is a systematic way to analyze stakeholders by their power and interest. High power, high interest stakeholders are Key Players. Low power and low interest stakeholders are least important. stakeholdermap.com

How to conduct a Stakeholder Analysis - with a free template

Often the process of identifying stakeholders will result in a long list of individuals and groups. After identifying all stakeholders for a large building project at a university, I discovered that there were nearly 20,000 individuals involved. But when I looked at the list, I saw that many of the people on it had similar interests.

I have shown the snapshot of my stakeholder analysis below. It shows the stakeholder groups and their interest areas mapped onto a matrix.

Stakeholder Analysis | Definition and best method (2)

Get this stakeholder interest template

Creating an interest matrix can help you make a communication plan that matches each stakeholder's interests and worries.

Once you have mapped the interests of your Stakeholders you need to prioritize them in order of importance. This step will drive your stakeholder engagement strategy. Different methodologies suggest different ways of analyzing stakeholders some complex and some very simple. A common approach is to map the interest and power or influence of each stakeholder group on a quadrant (Bryson 1995: 71 -5).


The stakeholders into four categories:

  • Low influence and low interest - Least Important
  • Low influence and high interest - Show consideration
  • High influence and low interest - Meet their needs
  • High influence and high interest - Key player

The OGC suggest three columns and rows with interest/influence either high, medium and low (see Managing Successful Programmes). Other variations on this quadrant include power, impact, support and attitude. Learn about the 6 key stakeholder matrices

You can complete your stakeholder analysis by drawing the quadrant on a flip chart or using a template. Click here for blank stakeholder analysis template in Microsoft Word.Alternatively you can use stakeholder analysis software.

Once you have mapped your Stakeholders you can focus your efforts on the highest priority groups while providing sufficient information to keep the less powerful groups happy. The table below shows an example engagement strategy based on the interest/influence stakeholder map. More detail on Stakeholder Engagement.

How Stakeholder Analysis drives engagement strategy


Text version

Low Interest High Interest
High Influence Meet their needs
- Engage & consult on interest area
- Try to increase level of interest
- Aim to move into right hand box

Key player
- Key players focus efforts on this group
- Involve in governance/decision making bodies
- Engage & consult regularly

Low Influence Least important
- Inform via general communications: newsletters, website, mail shots
- Aim to move into right hand box

Show consideration
- Make use of interest through involvement in low risk areas
- Keep informed & consult on interest area
- Potential supporter/goodwill ambassador

This video tutorial on how to complete a stakeholder analysis using GroupMap gives some more detail and may help in preparing your organization for a stakeholder analysis session.

The power/interest model is very flexible. You can use it to review Stakeholders in any area of your life or for any project at home or at work. For example see Stakeholder Analysis for your career.

Identifying Key Players is crucial if your project is to succeed. They have a high political interest and are powerful enough to either stop work completely or to move mountains to make your project a success. Continuing our guide to Stakeholder Analysis here are some tips to on recognizing the key players on your project.

Below is another example of a Stakeholder Analysis template created using a mind mapping tool. The first four branches organize Stakeholders into the impact and influence groupings, and Stakeholders are then mapped by adding branches to each group.

Using a mind map is a great way of analyzing stakeholders and many mind mapping tools have collaboration options which allow multiple people to work on an analysis.stakeholdermap.com
The mind map below was created using Mindmeister.com.

Stakeholder Analysis Mind map template

Stakeholder Analysis | Definition and best method (5)
A screenshot of the Stakeholder Analysis Mind map template included with the Stakeholder Management ebook

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Adding influence to the Stakeholder Analysis

Adding influence lines to the Power and Interest matrix lends a subtlety and depth to your analysis by revealing the importance of Stakeholders within each box in the matrix. They also reveal lines of communication between Stakeholders predicting the path potential issues will follow as they flow along influence lines to become an important concern for a key player. stakeholdermap.com
This technique is based on Eden and Ackermann's method (1998: 349-50).

As a group review the matrix and think about who influences who. Draw lines between Stakeholders to illustrate the influences between them, the lines can be in two directions, but you should try to identify the strongest direction of the influence.

An example of a completed analysis with influence lines is shown below.

Stakeholder Analysis | Definition and best method (6)

I suggest illustrating the stronger influence lines by using wider or darker lines. Once the lines are complete you will have clear indication of who are the most influential or central stakeholders.

The next page takes the stakeholder analysis techniques we have discussed and puts them together using a real example. Putting it all together - stakeholder analysis example.

Stakeholder Analysis resources

FREE stakeholder analysis power/interest template

Basic Stakeholder Analysis Method

BPM Stakeholder Analysis

Career Stakeholder Analysis

Stakeholder Analysis Pleasure and Displeasure List

Key stakeholders - how to identify key business stakeholders"

Stakeholder mind map

Stakeholder Salience

All stakeholder map templates

Stakeholder Analysis references and further reading

Bryson, J. (1995) Strategic Planning for Public and Nonprofit Organizations (rev. edn), San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass. Latest edition Strategic Planning for Public and Nonprofit Organizations: A Guide to Strengthening and Sustaining Organizational Achievement (Bryson on Strategic Planning).

Eden, C. and Ackermann, F. (1998) Making Strategy: The Journey of Strategic Management, London: SagePublications.

OGC, Managing successful programmes (Office of Government Commerce), London: TSO, 2007 pg. 51. Latest edition Managing successful programmes

Obeng, E (1995), All Change!: The Project Leader's Secret Handbook, (Financial Times Series), Financial Times/ Prentice Hall. Turner, R (2008). Gower Handbook of Project Management, Gower. Latest edition Gower Handbook of Project Management.

Guide to Stakeholder Management

- Next step - stakeholder planning
Stakeholder Analysis | Definition and best method (2024)

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