• MOOC coordinators Manuel Gértrudix Barrio & Rubén Arcos Martín
  • Content written by Rubén Arcos Martín
  • Multimedia design by Alejandro Carbonell Alcocer
  • Visual Identity by Juan Romero Luis

Stakeholder view of firm

Strategic planning of communication, Publics/stakeholders analysis, RACE/ROPE Process, Communication tactics

Analyzing your stakeholders/publics is essential in information and influence campaigns Organizations, including government departments, institutions, companies, international organizations, and non-governmental organizations have stakeholders: “groups and individuals who can affect, or are affected by, the achievement of an organization’s mission” (Freeman 1984: 52). Stakeholders hold “stakes,” something of value that others want or need (Heath and Coombs 2006: 79). Stakes then connect those individuals or groups with the organization, and can be tangible (e.g., funds) or intangible (e.g., support). (Coombs and Holladay 2007: 24). Stakeholders also have interest in an issue or concern, being “cognitively involved to obtain, review, think about, and formulate attitudes and behavioral intentions about the matter.” (Heath and Palenchar 2009: 16). Stakeholders and stakeseekers (those who want the stake held by others) are categories or roles exerted in relationships of influence. Consequently, the value of a particular stake will determine the ability of stakeholders to influence organizations’ decisions and performance. Obviously, differences exist among various kinds of stakeholders since not all of them have equal degrees of power or legitimacy, and significant conflicts of interest may exist.

With regard to firms, generic stakeholders include employees, customers, suppliers, government, media, activist groups, and others. Consumers seek the product or service provided by a company and hold the resources to obtain it, thereby establishing a stake-exchange relationship on both sides. But consumers also can make the decision to not purchase that company’s product or service if, for instance, a perception of physical insecurity about it exists, or if dissatisfied customers make negative word-of-mouth comments, that then negatively affect the company’s objectives. Regarding governmental agencies, the main purpose of a public organization is the creation of public value “through meeting the organization’s mandates and fulfilling its mission” as a result of producing decisions and actions that satisfy a set of functions (Bryson 2006)  As Hal Rainey has asserted, “public agencies are born of and live by the satisfaction of interests that are sufficiently influential to maintain the agencies’ political legitimacy and the resources that come with it.” (Rainey 2009:  Pos.7684).

As noted by Ackerman and Eden, “those stakeholders that are influenced by, and can influence, a large number of others become key stakeholders to monitor,” coalitions can be built with stakeholders sharing similar interest (2011: 236).

Communication techniques can be used to inform and influence publics/stakeholders. Preferably, “communication processes with stakeholders must be two-way” (Freeman 1984: 167).



Stakeholder Map of a company. Source: Freeman 1984: 25

Methodology and Resources

  • Paragraph on the methodology and resources (videos, texts, infographics...) of the subsection  
  • References and literature
  • Ackermann, Fran and Eden, Colin (2011). Making Strategy: mapping out strategic success. Kindle edition. Thousand Oaks: SAGE Publications.
  • Arcos, Rubén (2013). “Academics as Strategic Stakeholders of Intelligence Organizations: A View from Spain,” International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence, 26:2, 332-346, DOI: 10.1080/08850607.2013.757997
  • Bryson, John M. (2003). “What To Do When Stakeholders Matter: A Guide to Stakeholder Identification and Analysis Techniques,” Paper presented at the National Public Management Research Conference, 9–11 October 2003, The Georgetown University Public Policy Institute, Washington, D.C., Available at: Citeseerx
  • Coombs, W. Timothy and Holladay, Sherry J.  (2007). It’s Not Just PR: Public Relations in Society. Singapore: Blackwell.
  • Fleisher, Craig. S. and Bensoussan, Babette. E. (2003). Strategic and competitive intelligence analysis: methods and techniques for analyzing business competition. UpperSaddle River, NJ: Pearson.
  • Freeman, R. Edward (1984). Strategic management: a stakeholder approach. Marshfield, MA: Pitman Publishing.
  • Heath, Robert L. and W. Timothy Coombs (2006). Today’s Public Relations: An Introduction. Thousand Oaks: Sage.
  • Heath, Robert L. and Palenchar, Michael J. (2009). Strategic Issues Management: Organizations and Public Policy Challenges, 2nd edition. Thousand Oaks: Sage, 2009.
  • Rainey, Hal G. (2009). Understanding and Managing Public Organizations, 4th edition. Kindle. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.