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This content is taken from the Durham University & Durham University Business School's online course, Leading and Managing People-Centred Change. Join the course to learn more.

Skip to 0 minutes and 5 seconds Who are the people who will be affected by the change? Who do you need to persuade and get on board to ensure the change process succeeds? Identifying these people, key stakeholders, is critical to ensuring success. One of the things that’s really important is to understand who the stakeholders are in the beginning. And again, you know often it’s a term that’s bandied about. When I go into an organisation I say, well, who are these stakeholders? Often they haven’t actually done enough thinking right in the beginning about who they are.

Skip to 0 minutes and 42 seconds So when I talk to organisations, I talk about, well, let’s define who those stakeholders are and let’s be quite clear on the different groups of stakeholders or the individuals that are really critical to this process. And let’s understand whether there’s potential supporters of change, whether they’re a bit on the fence, you know, they’re ambiguous. We’re not quite sure what direction they’re likely to jump in. Or there could well be potential resistors. And I think it’s really important to do that piece first because once that piece is done, then you can start thinking about how do we engage differently with each of those groups of stakeholders, because they’re not just one group. There will be many different groups within an organisation.

Skip to 1 minute and 26 seconds And one of the things that’s really important, again, is to think about how do we get each of those groups involved.

Identifying where key support is needed (stakeholder analysis)

One way to help assess your stakeholders in relation to the change process is to use a grid which has two dimensions - reaction to change (‘blocker/on the fence/champion’) and the power/influence the stakeholder has (high/medium/low).

Now, having watched the video, let’s return to the case we looked at in the last step.

Who do you think are the key stakeholders in this case?

Think about:

Who will be affected by this change? Who will be responsible for making it happen? Who will be accountable for it? Who will benefit from the change? Who can influence the change?


Once you have identified all the stakeholders, think about how they will affect the project.

How much influence do they have to make the change happen, or to prevent it?

How supportive are they of the change? Do their actions match their words?

How much change will they experience themselves? How easy or difficult will it be for them?

Share your views with other learners.

From your list of stakeholders, work out who is a blocker, on-the-fence or champion and what level of power and influence they have.

For example: name of stakeholder (OTF/H) would mean on the fence, high influence or power.

Share your work with each other and compare results.

You may find the stakeholder analysis grid, available below, useful for your own change projects. (Please note: the zip version contains an editable Word file, if you have difficulty opening zip files we have also provided a read-only pdf file).

Reflection point

How did you find this exercise? Would you feel confident doing a similar exercise for your own change project? Do you have enough information about your stakeholders? If not, how could you get it?

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This video is from the free online course:

Leading and Managing People-Centred Change

Durham University