WHO IS A STAKEHOLDER? Meaning, Types & Importance

WHO IS A STAKEHOLDER shareholders vs stakeholders importance types of analysis

A stakeholder is any individual or group with some level of financial, political, or strategic interest in the outcome of a company’s operations. Investors, employees, clients, and suppliers make up the majority of the stakeholders in a typical company. The idea has now been expanded to encompass communities, governments, and trade groups due to the growing focus on corporate social responsibility. This article explains the types, analysis, and importance of stakeholders. We also added the differences between shareholders vs stakeholders so as for you to get your facts right. Sit back and enjoy the ride!

Who Is a Stakeholder?

A stakeholder is a person, group, or organization whose interests are affected by a project’s or business venture’s outcome. Stakeholders can be inside or outside the company funding the project, and they all have an interest in the project’s success. Stakeholders are significant because their choices can positively or negatively affect the project. There are additional crucial or important stakeholders, whose backing is necessary for the project to proceed.

A stakeholder is a person, just like any other team member, and some are simpler to manage than others. You’ll need to develop the skills to apply stakeholder mapping strategies to determine who your main stakeholders are and make sure you are meeting their needs. The stakeholder has a personal investment in the project, thus you should constantly inform them.

What Is the Role of a Stakeholder?

The main responsibility of a stakeholder is to lend their expertise and viewpoint to a project in order to assist the organization in achieving its strategic goals. Also, they have the ability to supply key components and resources. Their assistance is essential for a project to succeed. Even if all objectives were achieved, a project may be regarded as a failure if stakeholders don’t like the outcomes, according to stakeholder theory.

It is the responsibility of the project manager to maintain stakeholder satisfaction through strategic stakeholder management, including clear and timely communication, comprehension of their expectations, and adherence to the project’s schedule. Such management enhances stakeholder confidence and trust while confirming their buy-in or constructive cooperation.

Types of Stakeholders

There are two main types of stakeholders. The internal and the external stakeholders.

#1. Internal Stakeholders

An internal stakeholder is an individual or organization that has a direct connection to the firm managing the project. Employees who are part of the project team that will see it through to completion, as well as the project manager, resource manager, and line manager, might be considered internal stakeholders. Internal stakeholders can also include top corporate management, such as the CEO, the board of directors, and operating committees, as well as external contributors, such as subcontractors and consultants.

#2. External Stakeholders

The term “external stakeholder” refers to a party that is not a part of the project’s sponsoring organization but is nonetheless affected by its results. There are many different types of external stakeholders, but they often include vendors, suppliers, creditors, customers, testers, and end users.

Examples of Stakeholders

The following are examples of stakeholders:

#1. Investors 

These are interested parties seeking financial gains, such as loan holders and shareholders. They demand a return on their investment because they made financial contributions to the company.

#2. Customers

An entity that is directly connected to the business and its financial performance is a major stakeholder, which is the customer. Customers are typically seen as the most important stakeholder by business owners since their support enables the company to continue operating. Businesses exist largely to meet the requirements of a customer base and gain profit from that customer base.

#3. Communities

These stakeholders do not want the project to have a detrimental effect on their well-being, security, or economic growth. The businesses based in their communities or engaged in local initiatives may have an impact on spending, job growth, and other factors.

#4. Employees

The fact that employees produce the products and services that a company offers and that the caliber of their work directly affects consumer support makes them essential stakeholders. Employees also gain financially from the business’s ongoing success and performance. To preserve product quality and employee confidence, a company’s welfare depends on the effective strategic management of its workforce.

#5. Government

The project benefits these parties by increasing their tax revenue and GDP. They are significant stakeholders because they collect taxes from both the business as a whole and from the people it employs on an individual basis.

#6. Suppliers and Vendors

Despite being external to a business suppliers and vendors are nonetheless seen as main stakeholders because they immediately benefit from the profits made from sales and services, as does the business they sell to. The ability of a company to satisfy the needs of its customers and shareholders can be enhanced by the resources, materials, and, frequently, expertise provided by these providers that do not already exist within the organization.

Stakeholder Analysis

Stakeholder analysis is the most effective method for finding stakeholders for a particular project. Making a list of potential stakeholders is the first step in the stakeholder analysis process. The next step is to identify which parties have the most financial stake in the project. For instance, a corporation’s key stakeholders often comprise its clients, staff, investors, vendors, and neighbors.

You might not need to include all stakeholders in your project, or you might discover that some stakeholder groups are more affected than others. This will depend on the scope of your project. To expedite decision-making and accelerate project completion, prioritization can be used to increase critical stakeholder engagement.

Importance of Stakeholders

There are a variety of reasons for the importance of stakeholders. Stakeholders inside an organization are vital since their cooperation is what makes the company function. However, external stakeholders may have indirect effects on the company.

There are a number of factors that might affect market shifts, including consumer preferences, business strategies, and legislative initiatives. Successful businesses understand the importance of managing their connections with both internal and external stakeholders.

Shareholders vs Stakeholders

Shareholders and stakeholders are two different groups of people. Any person or group with a vested interest in the outcome of the project is considered a stakeholder. A stakeholder may be the company’s owner or a shareholder. Employees, bondholders, consumers, suppliers, and vendors are also examples of other types of stakeholders.

One can be both a shareholder and a stakeholder. Investors in a company are referred to as “shareholders.” A shareholder may have a stake in a project in which the company takes the lead. Investors have a vested interest in a company, and hence do shareholders, but stakeholders need not be investors. This is due to the fact that stockholders have a stake in publicly traded companies. An investor cares more about the company’s overall success than its stock price.

How to Manage Project Stakeholders

When you know what to do and how to do it, stakeholder management is simple. Here are ways to manage project stakeholders:

#1. Stakeholder Identification

The success of your project hinges on you being able to identify the stakeholders. A project is not considered successful if any of its stakeholders are unhappy. This should begin right after the project charter is developed.

To identify your project’s stakeholders, you should first analyze the project charter, which details the project’s goals and identifies the project manager. Information about the project’s stakeholders can be gleaned from the data on the project’s objects, budget, timeline, assumptions, constraints, sponsors, and upper management.

It is important to read over the agreements, as the names of important people may be listed there. Are there external entities or groups that will play a significant role in the project’s execution? You can get names of interested parties there, so it’s worth a look. 

#2. Stakeholder Analysis

Stakeholder analysis occurs once the project’s stakeholders have been identified. You will ask them questions at this time in order to learn more about their needs. To establish stakeholder communication strategies and prioritize them, you’ll also need to start measuring their level of involvement and influence in your project.

#3. Stakeholder Prioritization

The subject of how to manage a project stakeholder is a crucial one for any project manager. Since there could be numerous interested parties, you should prioritize your interactions with them just like you would with any other item on your to-do list.

Some stakeholders may be more important than others in terms of their objections to the project, and some may require more attention than others. You should identify these individuals and the stage of the project at which you may need to focus more on them while developing your project schedule.

#4. Stakeholder Engagement

Stakeholder management is the process of maintaining good rapport with project participants by achieving their desired outcomes and satisfying their expectations. However, this connection isn’t automatically given. One must work for it. Through open lines of communication and attentiveness to their concerns, you can win over your stakeholders and foster a productive working relationship.

One method for achieving this goal is to conduct interviews with the project’s stakeholders. In order to be well-prepared for in-depth discussions with key stakeholders, you may need to consult with subject matter experts before meeting with them.

Read Also: STAKEHOLDER THEORY: Definition, Benefits, and Challenges

Does “Stakeholder” Mean “Owner”?

Everyone who has a vested interest in the outcome of an organization’s choices is considered a stakeholder, regardless of their own status in the entity in question. Investors who have purchased equity in a corporation are considered shareholders. 

Are Shareholders or Stakeholders More Important?

Investors can influence corporate strategy and decision-making. However, investors typically care more about the immediate impact of management decisions on stock prices. Many stakeholders care more about the company’s long-term effects and performance. According to stakeholder theory, a company’s long-term success and the success of everyone associated with it depend on its ability to create value for its stakeholders rather than on its ability to maximize short-term profits.

Who Are the 5 Main Stakeholders in a Business?

Investors, workers, customers, suppliers, communities, governments, and trade groups are all examples of typical stakeholders. Stakeholders may come from inside or outside of an entity. Firms need to consider many different types of stakeholders, not only shareholders.

What Are the Stakeholders in a Business?

To be considered a stakeholder in a business, an entity must have some direct or indirect interest in the company’s operations, outcomes, or both. The company’s owners come first. Investors can take either an active or passive role as owners. There is a second group of people who have a vested interest in a company if it owes money to others (such as banks or bondholders). In addition to the company’s suppliers, who are also invested in its success, there are also the company’s employees. Customers are also stakeholders because they pay for and use the products or services the company offers.

Why Is It Called a Stakeholder?

The word “stakeholder” originally came from the world of horse racing. Prize money in a stake race comes directly from the entry fees paid by horse owners. “Stake” is a euphemism for “risk,” which is the admission fee.

What Are the Roles of a Stakeholder?

A stakeholder’s principal responsibility is to aid an organization in achieving its strategic goals by providing insight and expertise. They may also be able to supply key components and resources. The project’s success greatly depends on their participation.

Who Is a Key Stakeholder?

Key stakeholders are people or groups with significant political, regulatory, functional, or financial clout and expertise in the area at hand.

Who Is Not a Stakeholder?

Those who did not have a direct financial interest in the company were not considered stakeholders; this included youngsters and the general public. Now that it is viewed from a human perspective, the idea may include some parties, such as the general public, as stakeholders while excluding others.

Who Are the Primary Stakeholders?

Investors, employees, customers, and suppliers are the key constituencies in a typical business. However, CSR has expanded beyond businesses to incorporate civic engagement, policy advocacy, and the formation of industry groups in response to the growing public interest in the topic.

Final Thoughts

Anyone or any group with a vested interest in an organization’s results is considered a stakeholder. Customers, stockholders, communities, and even governments can all be seen as stakeholders. Always take note of the fact that Stakeholders can be internal or external.


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