Avoiding Subjectivity in Stakeholder Analysis

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Avoiding Subjectivity in Stakeholder Analysis

As correctly stated in the excellent article above, any stakeholder analysis is typically the sum of the SUBJECTIVE PERCEPTIONS of the management team of the company. This means that if these perceptions are incorrect, the stakeholder analysis will also be incorrect. This could have devastating consequences for the strategy of the firm.
I am looking for ways how such subjectivity in Stakeholder Analysis can be decreased or avoided altogether. Who can help me?

  Jim Burke

Avoiding Subjectivity: Assumptions Exercise

Perceptions are tied closely to assumptions and one way to address that is to gather the key stakeholders for an assumptions exercise. That, then, puts forth the basis for the perceptions.
A technique taught me about 10 years ago helps smoke out those assumptions. Picture a graph, with a time line on the bottom/x axis and a metric on the left/y axis. Ask the stakeholders to draw trend lines about how the metric will be measured over the time line. For example, the metric could be profit or it could be customer satisfaction. Have everyone draw their lines on a tablet sheet (which you have prepared beforehand) and then transfer that to a large wall chart. Ensure that the senior stakeholder goes last. In the US, at least, the lines go every which way. The chart looks like a bowl of noodles. You then ask why the line was drawn like it was and out comes the assumptions which can be used to filter the perceptions.


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