Social entrepreneurship is a multilateral process. In your work, you need to take into account the interests of many groups and individuals. But how is it possible to determine who to look for and how to manage it?
A stakeholder is either an individual, group or organisation that is impacted by the outcome of a project or a business venture. Stakeholders have an interest in the success of the project and can be within or outside the organization that's sponsoring the project.
Your customers, suppliers, local government, and partners are your stakeholders. And the most important of them, maybe, is your community. Each social enterprise has a unique set of stakeholders – those who have a direct or indirect interest in the work of the organisation. The power of stakeholders to influence the development of innovation is drawn from their salience and the resources, access, and/or legitimacy that their support would provide.
You can map out your stakeholders, and classify them according to their power over your work and their interest in it, on a Power/Interest Grid.
The position that you allocate to a stakeholder on the grid shows you the actions you need to take with them:
High power, highly interested people (Manage Closely): you must fully engage these people, and make the greatest efforts to satisfy them.
High power, less interested people (Keep Satisfied): put enough work in with these people to keep them satisfied, but not so much that they become bored with your message.
Low power, highly interested people (Keep Informed): adequately inform these people, and talk to them to ensure that no major issues are arising. People in this category can often be very helpful with the detail of your project.
Low power, less interested people (Monitor): again, monitor these people, but don’t bore them with excessive communication.
Let`s try this model in a real exercise!
- Brainstorm a list of the key stakeholders for your social enterprise. Be as specific as you can, using actual names of key individuals where possible.
- Place each of the stakeholders in one of the quadrants of the above matrix.
We hope that after this you will have a better understanding of stakeholders and their management of them.
Have you already used this method? Was it helpful for you?