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What is a Stakeholder Matrix?

Smartpedia: The stakeholder matrix visualises the most important stakeholders relative to each other in an XY graph. The representation of the attributes on the axes of the graph varies.

Stakeholder matrix – visualising the importance of stakeholders

The stakeholder analysis identifies the most important stakeholders for a project, a project or a product development with their interest, their power, their attitude and their influence. The Stakeholder Matrix visualises these stakeholders relative to each other in an XY graph. Which characteristics are represented as order characteristics on which axes can be varied, for example

  • the influence of individual stakeholders from low to high,
  • the attitude to a defined project from critical to positive,
  • the opinion from fixed to open,
  • the influenceability from low to high or
  • the interest from low to high.

The area created between the axes is usually divided into four or sometimes nine fields. The fields offer the possibility to define basic measures of stakeholder communication. As the number of fields increases, so does the possible number of pre-defined measures.

Tips for dealing with the stakeholder matrix

It is not the aim of a Stakeholder Matrix – sometimes also called a Stakeholder Map – to visualise all potential stakeholders. It makes more sense to concentrate on the most important stakeholders. What is important is the arrangement of the stakeholders to each other and the resulting derivation of measures. A stakeholder who has a high level of influence and also shows a high level of interest in a project must be looked after in the best possible way. A stakeholder with high interest but limited power, on the other hand, could “only” be regularly informed about the progress of a development. “Weak opponents” of a project should be kept in mind, “weak proponents” should be supported, etc.

There are also representations with color-coded stakeholders. Such a Stakeholder Matrix could have for example the influence and the interest on the axes and the attitude of the stakeholder from negative (in the color red), over neutral (in yellow) up to positive. In principle, organisations should always bear in mind that a stakeholder analysis is a snapshot, because advocates can become opponents and neutrally minded stakeholders can become active advocates. Consequently, the Stakeholder Matrix is also a snapshot.

Stakeholder matrix - visualising the importance of stakeholders

In rare cases, a Stakeholder Matrix is also presented as a table. Of course, there are more than two or three characteristics that can be recorded in such a table, but the most common term for such a representation is probably stakeholder list. It is the result of stakeholder identification.

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If you are interested in more explanations, we recommend the free Stakeholder Whitepaper.

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