Who Are The Stakeholders In A Process And How Do You Identify Them?

In designing a business process, it is vital to consider other stakeholders who will be impacted or have an impact during the course or as a result of its implementation. It may be easy to focus specifically on the individuals or groups who are directly involved in the tasks, but in the longer term, this could result in process failure.

While it may not be necessary to have every stakeholder involved in each step of the planning, it’s important to utilise all possible means of gathering inputs or ideas and make sure that everyone is on board.

What is a stakeholder?

A stakeholder in a process are individuals, groups or other organisations who are directly involved (those carrying out of the process), those who provide the inputs and those who are affected or can affect the outcome of the process either negatively or positively.

Stakeholders in a business process may include the project manager, employees, donors, investors, shareholders, customers, competitors, suppliers, vendors, local and national communities, internal and external organisations, government and its regulatory agencies and labour unions.

Many times in business, the business is accountable to specific stakeholders and it’s very important to be clear on what priority is also placed on stakeholders.

Identifying Stakeholders and Types

It’s important to identify where a stakeholder fits within your process. They may not be clearly defined but most likely will have an impact at key phases of a process. Brainstorm, map out and write down a list of all possible stakeholders that could have an impact on your process.

Stakeholders may be categorised based on how directly involved or affected they are by the process:

Primary stakeholders – they are the individuals or groups that either directly benefits or are negatively impacted by the process. They are the beneficiaries or the main target of your project.

Secondary stakeholders – they are those that are indirectly affected by the implementation of the process. They are support functions such as admin, finance and legal. Secondary stakeholders may also involve those whose profession, jobs, or business might be affected as a result of the project.

Key stakeholders – they are the individuals or groups who are important figures in the organisation or institution involved in the project or have such a significant influence in the planning, execution, or outcome of the process. They have the power to prevent the project from succeeding.

Why are they a stakeholder?

How strong a stakeholder’s interest is in the business process is influenced by how much they stand to benefit or lose, or how great their involvement is in the process, or both. These interests may include economic benefit, improved work conditions, personal time, physical and mental health, and safety and security.

Identifying the stakeholders in a business process or project is important in that it allows you to have as many individuals or groups involved in your undertaking. When you have many participants, you stand to acquire more ideas or inputs coming from different perspectives and ensure all relevant parties are included.

You also get to know their various concerns and possibly work out a solution which could help reduce or eliminate potential objections or resistance to its implementation.

Most importantly, by getting everybody involved in the project, you gain buy-in and the support of the stakeholders. While it can be time-consuming and may require some expertise, properly identifying and engaging stakeholders is vital in the successful planning and execution of a business process.

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