Mapping your stakeholders

Each social enterprise has a unique set of stakeholders – those who have a direct or indirect interest in the work of the organisation.

Stakeholders may include employees, customers, beneficiaries, local leaders, funders and supporters, and many others. In order to determine how to approach and manage these diverse groups, which sometimes have different and conflicting interests, a systematic mapping method may be useful.

One way to conduct stakeholder mapping is to use the grid pictured above. The axes of this grid are interest and power. Stakeholders with high interest would include those who are particularly active in their support. Those with high power are those who have great influence over the work of the social enterprise.

The combination of interest and power determines the best approach toward these different groups:

  1. Low power, low interest: Monitor with minimum effort
  2. Low power, high interest: Keep informed of your work
  3. High power, low interest: Keep satisfied to ensure continued support
  4. High power, high interest: Manage closely to maintain a strong relationship

Try It Out

Now we ask each of you to apply this stakeholder map to your own example. If you are already a social entrepreneur or work for a social enterprise, try mapping your stakeholder community. If not, pick a social enterprise you already know about and analyse its stakeholder groups:

  1. Brainstorm a list of the key stakeholders for your social enterprise. Be as specific as you can, using actual names of key individuals where possible.
  2. Place each of the stakeholders in one of the quadrants of the above matrix.

When you have completed the exercise, please share in the comments what you have learned. Did mapping your stakeholders in this way change your planned approach?

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This article is from the free online course:

Social Enterprise: Growing a Sustainable Business

Middlesex University Business School