Stakeholder Analysis

Stakeholder Analysis

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The identification of a project's key stakeholders, an assessment of their interests and the ways in which those interests affect project viability. A basic premise behind stakeholder analysis is that different groups have different concerns, capacities and interests, and that these need to be explicitly understood and recognized in the process of problem identification, objective setting and strategy selection. The key questions asked by stakeholder analysis are "Whose problems or opportunities are being analyzed" and "Who will benefit or loose-out, and how, from a proposed project intervention"? The ultimate aim being to help maximize the social, economic and institutional benefits of a project to target groups and ultimate beneficiaries, and to minimize its potential negative impacts, including stakeholder conflicts. A stakeholder analysis develops a strategic view of the social environment in which a project will be implemented, thus it is usually the first step in building the relationships needed for the success of a project. A stakeholder analysis can be undertaken throughout all the stages of a project cycle. It can be used to:

  • Identify and define the characteristics of key stakeholders;
  • Draw out the interests of stakeholders in relation to the problems that the project is seeking to address;
  • Identify conflicts of interests between stakeholders;
  • Help to identify relations between stakeholders that may enable "coalitions" of project sponsorship, ownership and cooperation;
  • Assess the capacity of different stakeholders to participate;

Conducting a stakeholder analysis can draw out the interests of stakeholders in relation to the problems which the project or programme is seeking to address or the purpose of the project.[1] In evaluation, stakeholder analysis is conducted in order to identify people, groups and institutions that may influence directly the evaluation; anticipate the kind of influence these groups may have on the evaluation and; build early support for the project or programme as well as reduce possible obstacles to their successful implementation.[2]

In development projects, a key purpose of stakeholders analysis is to understand and address distributional concerns, particularly in the context of effectively understanding the needs of vulnerable groups. [3]

See also: Needs Assessment; Audience Analysis; Problem Tree Analysis; Focus Groups

Toolkit.png Conducting a Stakeholder Analysis

Step by Step

  1. Identifying major stakeholder groups:
    • Identify the groups that have a significant interest in the project (individuals, groups, communities, organizations, etc. ).
    • Define the interests and agenda of the agency directing the exercise. This can be redressed later in the process by allowing the inclusion of more stakeholders as their interests come to light.
  2. Determining stakeholders' interests:
    • Investigate roles, relative power and capacity to participate in the project, in order to draw out key interests for each stakeholder group. Key questions could include:
      • What are the contributions the stakeholder can give to the project and what resources is it likely to commit (or avoid committing) to the project?
      • What interests the stakeholder has in the project and what are the benefits it can get?
      • What are the stakeholder expectations and requirements to the project?
      • What other interests the stakeholder has that may conflict with the project?
      • What actions can be taken to address the stakeholder's interests?
    • To collect all this information in a methodical way, use a stakeholder map .
  3. Assessing stakeholders' influence and importance:
    • The relationship between stakeholders has to be observed, so as the extent of cooperation and/or conflict between them can be outlined.
    • Influence refers to how powerful a stakeholder is.
    • Importance refers to those stakeholders whose needs and interests coincide with the aim of the project.
    • To conduct an effective analysis, organize this information in a stakeholder matrix.
  4. Establishing strategies for stakeholder's involvement:
    • Decide, in case the stakeholder is a group rather than an individual, whether all the group participate or only its representatives.
    • Manage and coordinate arrangements appropriately to promote stakeholder ownership, participation, and avoid conflicts of interest.
    • Design partnerships in a flexible way, allowing growth.
    • Interpret the findings of the analysis and incorporate relevant information in the project design, in order to plan strategies. [4]

Stakeholder Matrix

A stakeholder matrix allows for stakeholders to be plotted against different variables, taking into consideration their importance and their level of influence in the project. [5]


Job Aid

Pdf.png Conducting a Stakeholder Analysis

Word.png Stakeholder Map Template

Word.png Stakeholder Matrix Template


  1. [DFID, Overseas Development Administration. Guidance Notes on how to do a Stakeholder Analysis of Aid Projects and Programmes. London, 1995.]
  2. Imas Linda G. Morra, Rist C. Ray. The Road To Results; Designing and Conducting Effective Development Evaluations pp.495. The World Bank, Washington DC, 2009.
  3. (23 July 2008), (23 July 2008); Aid Delivery Methods - Project Cycle Management Guidelines, European Commission, 2004
  4. (14 August 2008), (14 August 2008), (14 August 2008), Project Cycle Management Guidelines, European Commission, 2004
  5. (14 August 2008) (14 August 2008)