In an extract from his new book, Witold Henisz has some thoughts on how to identify a company’s stakeholders

Who should be included within your stakeholder database?

The goal is to incorporate people or groups who have a stake in the outcome of your project, and who can influence its success or failure now or later. Stakes may be direct – someone will get, say, money or a job; or indirect – he or she will receive benefits from another person or organisation that benefits directly.

Even when people are not affected in obvious ways, they may still care about the outcome. They may associate a project with any number of controversial topics such as imperialism, political favouritism, government intervention in the economy, the loss of traditional values or environmental degradation. Sometimes, their beliefs might not seem reasonable, but that will not make the holders any less convinced they are true. The set of potential stakeholders can seem overwhelming.

Screening based on influence is thus required. Include in your database any stakeholder who can ruin your day. That potential is a function of how much power stakeholders have and how much your project matters to them.

How powerful are your stakeholders independently?

Power seems straightforward – a company CEO has it, an unskilled worker does not. But quantifying it poses difficulties. There is...

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book extract  CSR books  identifying stakeholders  stakeholder engagement  Witold Henisz 

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