9.1 Identifying Stakeholders
Scale of Stakeholder Analysis
When doing a stakeholder analysis, the scale of analysis needs to map onto actual processes that can be engaged by those entities. Otherwise, the analysis becomes too generalized to be of much use.
There are many ways to approach stakeholder analysis. In this section, it says, "'secondary,' non-economic stakeholders included in firms stakeholder management will often be labeled as society, NGOs, and/or government." However, the stakeholder matrix describes secondary stakeholders as ones that "may be affected by the outcomes of decisions without direct input or significant interest in the process."
First, a category as broad as society, NGOs, or government, doesn’t help you manage a given situation. How do you try to "manage society" or "a government"? You have to get as specific as possible. If government offices, which ones: Local, State or Federal? Which people in which positions are being affected? Does this make sense? What does it help your analysis to say that everyone in the world is being affected by climate change; therefore we are all secondary stakeholders? Are they all being affected equally? Probably not... so, any of these categories need more granularity in an analysis.
The approach covered in the article addresses a firm/management approach to stakeholder analysis. The Stakeholder Matrix I developed is intended to be applicable to social projects and looking at non-economic impacts. If you are a company managing stakeholders, you are mainly concerned with economic outcomes, and your concern with secondary stakeholders is mainly a financial one. However, if you're trying to implement a project such as cleanup or remediation of a toxic site, you are not concerned with economic outcomes of secondary stakeholders, but rather, health impacts. As such, the “economic management only” approach is not going to capture concerns of secondary stakeholders in this case.
Stakeholder analysis is an evolving process and, much like LCA, it depends on goals and scope and the depth to which you want to provide details.
Stakeholder Identification Matrix
A given action or decision can have significant consequence depending on who, what, and how the stakeholder is in relationship to the action or decision.
- A stakeholder analysis should be conducted early in a project to ensure equitable representation in a decision-making process around a given action.
- A stakeholder analysis requires representation from actual stakeholders or reasonable proxies, as in the case of silent stakeholders.
- Equitable outcomes require an equitable process of evaluation.