Management, Change and... Stakeholders


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Stakeholders are those groups of people or institutions that have a stake in your company (where you are not always aware of). There are many general theories about stakeholder management and methods to implement. When dealing with change, a simple stakeholder “view” could help you in controlling the change.

Such a view will look like a spider. It shows the contexts of your organization (the core) and the legs of the spider are pointing to the stakeholders. In the view below, the spider lost one leg:

  • Clients (Business Clients or Consumers)
  • Competitors
  • Employees (Management)
  • Third parties (Suppliers and Business partners)
  • Capital suppliers, Investors, Shareholders
  • Government (local, national, International)
  • Communities (environmental, professionals)

The Employee-category is different in the sense that this relation is internal, where the others communicate with the world outside.

For planning a change, it is important to know what you must do regarding these relations. You could see this as a complicated version of Client Relationship Management, where different clients groups have different roles. Each relation must be managed in a different way.

Managing this stakeholder context is managing the important network your company ‘got’ entangled in during its business cycle. This context provides valuable information that supports the change management process.

The stakeholder view can be used for both small businesses as for large caps. To manage each relation you must be well prepared, but you do not have to know everything in advance. In a way you need to manage expectations. You also need to listen very well to the stake that is in the game. You cannot negotiate with relations if you do not know how you value the relation.

To give one example:

A bank is changing its strategy. Many of the local branches will be closed due to the fact that internet is a growing channel. Yet there are a group (community) of elderly people than – although not belonging to the main focus group (80%) will resist in this new approach.

If you have not included them in the stakeholders view, you will have to do a lot of rework once you think you go live. They, representing maybe only less than 20%, will give you a lot of exceptions to handle.

© 2005 Hans Bool

Hans Bool is the founder of Astor White a traditional management consulting company that offers online management advice. Astor Online solves issues in hours what normally would take days. You can apply for a free demo account


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