Stakeholders are the people who matter to a system. Stakeholder power analysis is a tool which helps understanding of how people affect policies and institutions, and how policies and institutions affect people. It is particularly useful in identifying the winners and losers and in highlighting the challenges that need to be faced to change behaviour, develop capabilities and tackle inequalities.
Like other tools, the usefulness and strength of stakeholder power analysis depends on the way it is used. It can be carried out by individual analysts, multi-stakeholder processes, or some intermediate between these two ends of the spectrum. Stakeholder power analysis can be used progressively to empower important but marginalised groups, and to improve policies and institutions. But it should be recognised that the techniques can also be used more cynically by some - to work out who should be manipulated, undermined or disposed of. Progressive users should be aware that the cynics may be ahead of the game, and encourage all involved to be clear about their purpose, intentions and desired outcomes.
A summary card of this tool is available to download in four languages in PDF format:
The complete tool is also available (PDF format):
Please cite this tool as:
Mayers, J. 2005. Stakeholder power analysis. Power tools series. International Institute for Environment and Development, London, UK.