Stakeholder Mapping

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Creating graphical representations of stakeholder groups. Explanation of Stakeholder Mapping.


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What is Stakeholder Mapping? Description

Following or during a Stakeholder Analysis process, it is often useful to categorize the various stakeholders by drawing further pictures of what the stakeholder groups are, which interests they represent, the amount of power they possess, whether they represent inhibiting or supporting factors for the organization to realize its objectives, or methods in which they should be dealt with. Stakeholder Mapping is the process of creating such pictures to clarify the position of the stakeholders of the organization.

Amongst the generic methods that can be used to analyze stakeholders are: Internal / External Stakeholder Analysis, Primary / Secondary Stakeholder AnalysisForce Field Analysis, SWOT Analysis and Actor Influence Diagrams. Actor Influence Diagrams help to picture the formal and, more importantly, informal relationships that exist: the networks. These relationships are captured as a directed graph of arrows linking one stakeholder to another. Formal and informal relationships are captured using different arrow types.

Below you can find some more, specialized stakeholder mapping methods.

One example of such maps is called the Power / Dynamism Matrix. This stakeholder map classifies stakeholders in relation to the power that they hold and the dynamism of their stance. The Power / Dynamism Map can be used to ascertain where political efforts should be focused during the development of new strategies.

  • The stakeholders in group A and B are the easiest to deal with.

  • The stakeholders in group C are important, because they are powerful. However their dynamism is low, so their stance is predictable and their expectations can often be met in a relatively easy manner..

  • Stakeholders in group D should have the most management attention, because they are powerful and their stance is difficult to predict. They can sometimes be dealt with by testing out new strategies with them before final decisions are made.

Stakeholder Mapping - Power / Dynamism Matrix

Another example is the Power / Interest Matrix. This stakeholder map classifies stakeholders in relation to the power that they hold and the extent to which they are likely to show interest in the strategies of the organization. The Power / Interest Map can be used to indicate what type of relationship the organization should have with each of  the groups.

  • The stakeholders in group A require only minimal effort and monitoring.

  • The stakeholders in group B should be kept informed. They can be important to influence the more powerful stakeholders.

  • Stakeholders in group C are powerful, but their level of interest in the strategies of the organization is low. They are generally relatively passively, but may suddenly emerge as a result of certain events, moving to group D on that issue. They should be kept satisfied.

  • The stakeholders in group D are both powerful and highly interested in the strategies of the organization. The acceptability of strategies to these key players should be an important consideration in the evaluation of new strategies.

Stakeholder Mapping - Power / Interest Grid

A more recent Stakeholder Mapping model is the Power, Legitimacy and Urgency Model described by Mitchell, Agle and Wood (1997, 1999). This model maps stakeholder behavior into 7 types, depending on the combination of three characteristics:

  • POWER of the stakeholder to influence the organization.

  • LEGITIMACY of the relationship and actions of the stakeholder with the organization in terms of desirability, properness or appropriateness.

  • URGENCY of the requirements being set for the organization by a stakeholder in terms of criticality and time-sensitivity for the stakeholder.

The stakeholders who show only one of the 3 characteristics (number 1, 2 and 3 in the picture) are defined as the Latent Stakeholders. They are sub-classified further as dormant, discretionary or demanding stakeholders.

The stakeholders who show two out of  3 of the characteristics (number 4, 5 and 6 in the picture) are defined as Expectant Stakeholders. They are sub-classified further as dominant, dangerous or dependent stakeholders.

The stakeholders showing all 3 characteristics are called Definitive Stakeholders.

Stakeholder Mapping - Power, Legitimacy, Urgency

Note that the management of an organization has to assess the position of each stakeholder. It is the subjective perception of management that will ultimately decide the way in which the organization will act towards its stakeholders.


Book: Gardner, J.R., Rachlin, R. and Sweeny, H.W.A. - Handbook of Strategic Planning (1986) -

Book: Mitchell, R.K., Agle, B.R., Sonnenfeld, J.A. - Who Matters to CEOs? An Investigation of Stakeholders Attributes and Salience, Corporate Performance and CEO Values (1999) -

Stakeholder Mapping Forum
  Stakeholder Salience (Mitchell, Agle and Wood)
Mitchell, Agle and Wood expressed the importance of stakeholders’ needs and wishes to the company with the term 'salience'. Stakeholders’ salience is defined as 'the degree to which managers give priority to competing stakeholder claims' and i...
  Stakeholder Mapping Should Focus More on Relationships between Stakeholders and Their Interplay
In my opinion we should increasingly focus stakeholder mapping on the relationships and dynamics between various stakeholders, rather than the individual significance and influential ability of each stakeholder. Mapping of these relationships ...
  Stakeholder Mapping: Is the "Management" also a Stakeholder?
I have a question to ask: when developing a crisis plan and mapping the stakeholders for this, is the management part of the key stakeholders?
If yes, how should the power/ interest matrix be analyzed when the management is included as a key sta...
  Employees as a Stakeholder
When referring to stakeholders, enhancement of shareholder value seemed to take center stage for a longtime.
Lately, the realization that stakeholders are more than shareholders is stronger. One key stakeholder are of course the employees. They...
  Stakeholder Mapping for Insurance Company
Does anyone have a model for external stakeholder mapping for an insurance company. Need it for a comprehensive strategy alignment....
  Stakeholder Mapping in a University
Can anyone share how do you go about using stakeholder mapping to a public sector like universities in a practical way?...
  Political Influence Map
When preparing for corporate change and adoption programs, you can use a political influence map. This significant input into implementation plans, reduces the risk of cultural rejection of the change program.
Another use of the method, i...
  Actor Network Theory by Bruno Latour
Who can provide some more info / reference about this model?...
  Other Mapping Approaches
I'm a bit surprised the way "mapping" is interpreted... Here it's equated with matrices and what is more commonly called "conceptual mapping" which are useful but really on the the tip of the iceberg. I find web crawls, social network analysis, va...
  Stakeholder Map for Pharma Company
I am wondering if you have a framework that could describe stakeholder mapping for the pharma company (physicians, patients, payors)? Power is definitely one dimension but not sure what is the other. Thanks...
  Conceptual Stakeholder References
Hello, everyone, I have recently joined this forum, interested in sharing and getting more references on stakeholder mapping and stakeholder analysis.
I read the MAW article referenced in this page which proved excellent input for a point of vie...

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Compare with Stakeholder Mapping: Stakeholder Analysis  |  Force Field Analysis  |  Stakeholder Value Perspective  |  Shareholder Value Perspective  |  Ashridge Mission Model  |  Clarkson Principles  |  Intrinsic Stakeholder Commitment  |  Strategic Stakeholder Management  |  PEST Analysis  |  Crisis Management  |  Scenario Planning

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