What Exactly is Stakeholder Management?

Stakeholder management is the process of identifying and understanding all the people, businesses, governments, internal stakeholders, shareholders, and other groups of people that are involved in or affected by your organisation or project.

Stakeholder management involves:

• Building trust,

• Understanding stakeholders’ needs, concerns, and priorities,

• Giving them opportunities to provide feedback and participate in decisions,

• Ensuring stakeholder feedback and needs are reflected in decisions,

• Fulfilling statutory obligations.

Ultimately, stakeholder management should result in better decision making and overall better outcomes for all parties.

However, stakeholder management isn’t just for big organisations! Nearly every organisation manages stakeholders, even if they don’t call it “stakeholder management”.

An example of what stakeholder management is as follows:

A state or federal government agency will need to consider stakeholder management any time they develop a new policy.

There will always be vested and competing interests around new policies. For example:

• Some community or environment groups might be completely opposed,

• Some businesses might be very supportive of the changes,

• Some local councils won’t know how it will affect them,

• Academics and senior professionals in the field may have opinions they’d like to voice.

• A situation like this can quickly escalate and become a political or media issue without effective stakeholder management.

Stakeholder management helps explore the perspectives of different groups of people, anticipate what they’ll think and do, and what might trigger them. It seeks to smooth out any changes and transitions by fostering better understanding, relationships and engagement.

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