What is a Stakeholder?
Before we can take a look at Stakeholder Mapping it is important for us to understand what exactly a stakeholder is. If we break the word down, it is exactly as it sounds, where it is basically telling us that the term represents someone who holds a stake in a business, or in other words someone who can be affected by a business leader’s decisions or actions. Every business will have a fair idea of who these individuals or groups are, however identifying where they fall on the matrix will give you clarity on the level of communication each requires.
Types of Stakeholders
There are mainly two types of stakeholders you will need to be aware of, these are internal and external. Although whether your stakeholders are internal or external will not affect the level of influence they will have, it is still important to be aware of what category each will fall under.
- Management Team
- Project Managers
What is Stakeholder Mapping Analysis?
A Stakeholder Mapping Analysis is the use of a matrix to offer a visual representation of who your key stakeholders are. This will give business leaders a better understanding of who those individuals are which are going to have an influence over their future plans or decisions.
What does a Stakeholder Map look like?
Below shows us a stakeholder map where the ‘Y’ axis represents the level of power a key stakeholder will have over your business or project. On the other hand, the ‘X’ axis represents the level of interest they will have. Both these together make up the matrix where you can place your stakeholders on and decide whether they should be kept satisfied, managed closely, monitored or kept informed. This will give you clarify on how you will communicate with each of these stakeholders.
So what do each of the four squares actually represent?
Keep Satisfied: These individuals or groups can prove difficult to convince, where high power but low interest will mean they will need to be aware of any major changes but also will want to be left to their own will.
Manage Closely: With these stakeholders having both high power and interest, they must be kept up to date with your decisions. People like the CEO and high level management will need to be managed closely where they would have the ability to affect project plans.
Monitor: These individual or groups have both low power and low interests in your decision making meaning although they are considered a stakeholder, you will not need to spend to much time persuading or receiving buy in from them. However, many times a project can change, having an effect on the level of interest and power/influence of your stakeholders. Therefore, no group of stakeholders should go un-recognised.
Keep informed: These people have low power but high interest. This group will require high level of communication at all stages whether it be through email, verbal, or group meetings, ensuring these people have full awareness and understanding of your plans will be key to managing any forms of resistance.
3 times a Stakeholder Mapping Analysis is highly relevant
Stakeholder Mapping is relevant in many case scenarios, some of which is shared below:
- Starting a project: Stakeholder Mapping is a critical tool for any project manager to carry out at the beginning of a project to gain understanding of who needs to be involved or informed with any changes to the project itself.
- Releasing a new product: In the case of releasing a new product or changing how to reach your customers you may want to go through this process as there will likely be a change of consumer base or potential new suppliers also.
- Starting a business: Understanding the key people to buy in to your business will be key to your overall success.
3 Benefits for Stakeholder Mapping
- Allocate your time more effectively
Carrying out this process will allow you to become aware of who and what should be focused upon, allowing you to spend more time on the areas and stakeholders that matter most.
- Manage resistance more effectively
Identifying those people who have most influence over your decisions will allow you to position yourself towards dealing with resistance and putting plans in place to manage this.
- Manage resources more effectively
Having a plan in place and understanding your stakeholders interest and influence will offer you a better opportunity in managing resources and allocating responsibilities to your team more effectively.
Stakeholder Mapping Analysis of Amazon
Below lists seven of Amazon’s different stakeholders who all have a different level of power and influence over the company’s decision making process.
- Customers: Like any company Amazon’s sales revenue is dependent on their customers. Therefore, any changes to the business or products can have an effect on a customer’s decision to invest in this company.
- Employees: Without employees Amazon would not be able to function as a business.
- Suppliers: Amazon are very reliant on their suppliers where their success strives on supplier sustainability
- Competitors: Although Amazon is the world’s leading online retailer, they will still want to be aware of their competitors actions.
- Shareholders: Amazon’s shareholders will expect a return on investment (ROI) from their investments in shares.
- Media: The media can have an impact on a companies reputation while influencing customers belief and buying behaviour
- Government: With Amazon’s manufacturing companies located in many different countries, the business must follow and abide by the governmental policies that govern each of these countries.
We have took each of these seven stakeholders and placed them on the Stakeholder Mapping Matrix below.
As you can see from the Stakeholder Mapping Analysis above Amazon will want to have clear communication levels with three of their primary stakeholders (Customers, Employees and Shareholders) with each of these stakeholders sharing a high level of power and interest towards Amazon. Each of the other stakeholders also share either a high level of power, or a high level of interest, meaning Amazon must also prioritise these stakeholders and be aware of how they receive information from the company.
Within this blog article we took a look at a Stakeholder Mapping Matrix and how it can be applied to a company such as Amazon. For more content like this, check out our blog content on ProfileTree’s website or head over to ProfileTree’s Youtube for some video content as well.