Mapping stakeholders

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Developed by Maria Briceno Gomez

Stakeholders Mapping is the term used to describe the process of graphically analyzing stakeholders in order to understand them from different points of view. In that way, various analyses should be carried out, for better comprehension. During research, it is common to develop ways of presenting the data that has been collected. The organization of data allows classifying and reviewing the information for obtaining valuable information. The representation of the content allows comparing and contrasting with the known data collected, or simply allows others to absorb or understand the data more easily. In the world of construction new projects, the most effective presentation of the data is graphical or pictorial [1].

also refer to: Stakeholder Analysis


Objectives [1]

The objectives of the stakeholders mapping are:

  • Develop a useful list of stakeholders.
  • Evaluate the main characteristics of each participant.
  • Present information in a way that helps the project team to effectively implement stakeholder's management initiatives.
  • Replace subjectivity with objective measures.
  • Make the measuring process easy to understand.
  • Facilitate the review of the stakeholder’s analysis.
  • Simplify the updating of the analysis during the construction phase.

Mapping Methods

Below are mentioned the stakeholder mapping techniques better known and commonly used.[1] These are the Salience Model, the Power/Interest Grid, and the Stakeholder Assessment.

Salience Model [2]

The Salience Model is used to identify the needs of a stakeholder. Unlike other methods, this one uses three dimensions to classify the stakeholders:

  • Power: is the ability of a social actor influence over another social actor to do something that would not have done otherwise, such a way that the results of a project or organization are affected. Some associate terms are:
  • Legitimacy: Is the level of authority or having an actor involvement in socially constructed system of norms, values and beliefs system. E.g.: the authority of a stakeholder in a project.
  • Urgency: The degree of attention stakeholders need, i.e. is the expected time to meet the expectations of the concerned.

Graphical representation

A Venn Diagram is usually used to represent this model, as seen in Figure 1.

Figure 2. Graphical Representation of the Saliance Model


Depending on the level of power, legitimacy and urgency, the stakeholder would have a level of salience, which is the degree to which managers or researchers prioritize the satisfaction of the needs of the stakeholders. This three-dimensional view of stakeholders helps to identify needs and expectations of a project, which can be very useful for researchers in order to reduce the umber of key stakeholders. Stakeholders can be classified into 4 salience levels: High, Medium, Low and Null. Likewise each combination between power, legitimacy and urgency, requires different attention. Then, the stakeholders can be classified in four different groups: latent, expectant, definitive and non stakeholders.

  • Non Stakeholders: Their priority level is null. These people are not of interest in the project. Investing time and effort in this type of people do not help the manager to get the results of the project in anyway.
  • Latent Stakeholders: Here, three sub-groups can be formed, depending on their attributes:
    • Dormant: That stakeholder who has power, but no legitimacy and urgency in their requests.
    • Discretionary: It has legitimacy, but no power or urgency.
    • Demanding: Has urgency, but no power or legitimacy.

The relevance of these stakeholders is low. Then, a manager's attention should be focused towards those with higher level of priority.

  • Expectant Stakeholders: These are the stakeholder who have two types of attributes, and their importance should be medium. Is in between a passive and active level that requires certain attention to be satisfied. Again, they can be categorized in three sub-groups:
    • Dominant: Is the situation in which the parties are both powerful and legitimate, but do not have the urgency. Here, the manager should focus on their expectations but, since there is no great urgency, it can always be postponed.
    • Dependent: According to the model, these stakeholders have no actual power in the project, but have legitimacy and urgency. However, they need to be managed, as they can quite easily choose to side with other stakeholders and thereby influence the project.
    • Dangerous: As indicated by their name, these actors have the power and urgency, but without legitimacy. Therefore, they have demands on the project without actually being a part of it. Such stakeholders should be kept satisfied by ensuring an adequate participation.
  • Definitive Stakeholders: These type of stakeholders require a high level of attention, as their requirements are related to the three attributes (power, legitimacy and urgency). Its priority level is high.

The Power/Interest Grid [3]

The Power/Interest Grid (Figure 2), is a tool used to identify the expectations and power of stakeholders that helps in the understanding of political priorities. Power is defined as the level of authority of a stakeholder in a project, whereas influence is de level of involvement by the interested parties.

Power influence grid.png

The main purpose of the Power/Interest Grid is:

  • Establish a relationship between the interested parties and quadrants of the matrix.
  • Have a clearer perspective on whom to manage closer and who requires less effort.
  • Prioritize the stakeholders’ requests.
  • Help to channel spending time and energy on the correct parties.
  • Create strategies per level of influence to avoid stakeholder conflicts.
  • Understand the proper use of the stakeholders’ power and influence level, to keep it or reposition it in project’s benefit.
  • Predict future behaviour and respond from the interested parts to the strategies proposed. E.g.: in terms of persuasion.

Interpretation of the quadrants

Depending on the levels of power / interest, different actions should be taken for each stakeholder:

  • Minimal Effort: for those who have low power and influence, it should not spend much time or effort on them.
  • Key Player: They are the one who must be taken more seriously into account; they must have the major acceptability in the strategies taken for the project.
  • Keep Informed: They have the ability to influence the attitude of the most powerful stakeholders. Their needs can be met by information.
  • Keep Satisfied: They are relatively passive stakeholders, but in case of poor decision-making, they can become to an interested party with high power and influence.

Stakeholder Assessment [4]

The main objective of this tool is to assist on the mapping of the stakeholders and their interests in the project. It can be used to analyze and evaluate the importance of the project or organization, and assess the environment.

Each stakeholder might have several roles in the evaluation. These can be listed using the following table format (Figure 3):

Stakeholder Assessment-02.png

Usage Mode

1. Once identified, stakeholders must be located in the left column.

2. Identify to which category each stakeholder belongs to. These can be founders, employees, managers or members of the organization. It must adapt categories of stakeholders under the project or organization. You can also indicate whether a stakeholder:

  • Is a fundamental part of the organization
  • Is interested and committed to the organization
  • Knows the organization but is not committed to the project
  • Has a vested interest in destroying the organization, e.g.: competitors

3. Indicate the interests of stakeholders in self-assessment mode if each interested party will use the results to:

  • Planning
  • Organizational support
  • Design of new programs
  • Creating new strategies
  • Implement changes

4. Identify the possible involvement or role of each actor in the self, i.e. if the stakeholder can:

  • Be a data or information provider
  • Make a decision on the results of self-assessment
  • Benefit of change that arises from the evaluation
  • Any other benefit



  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Chinyio, E., & Olomolaiye, P. (Eds.). (2009). Construction stakeholder management. John Wiley & Sons.
  2. Mitchell, R. K., Agle, B. R., & Wood, D. J. (1997). Toward a theory of stakeholder identification and salience: Defining the principle of who and what really counts. Academy of management review, 22(4), 853-886.
  3. Johnson, G., Scholes, K., & Whittington, R. (2008). Exploring corporate strategy: text & cases. Pearson Education.
  4. Lusthaus, C., Adrien, M. H., Anderson, G., & Carden, F. (1999). Enhancing Organisational performance. A toolbox for self assessment, IDRC.
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