Who’s in and why? A typology of stakeholder analysis methods for natural
Mark S. Reeda,*, Anil Gravesc, Norman Dandyd, Helena Posthumusc, Klaus Hubacekb, Joe Morrisc,
Christina Prelle, Claire H. Quinnb, Lindsay C. Stringerb
aAberdeen Centre for Environmental Sustainability and Centre for Planning and Environmental Management, School of Geosciences, University of Aberdeen, St Mary’s,
Aberdeen AB243UF, UK
bSustainability Research Institute, School of Earth and Environment, University of Leeds, Woodhouse Lane, Leeds, West Yorkshire LS2 9JT, UK
cNatural Resources Management Centre, Cranfield University, Bedford MK43 0AL, UK
dForest Research, Alice Holt Lodge, Farnham, Surrey GU10 4LH, UK
eDepartment of Sociological Studies, University of Sheffield, Northumberland Road, Sheffield S10 2TU, UK
a r t i c l e i n f o
Received 17 March 2008
Received in revised form
2 October 2008
Accepted 11 January 2009
Available online 20 February 2009
Rural Economy and Land Use programme
a b s t r a c t
Stakeholder analysis means many things to different people. Various methods and approaches have been
developed in different fields for different purposes, leading to confusion over the concept and practice of
stakeholder analysis. This paper asks how and why stakeholder analysis should be conducted for partic-
ipatory natural resource management research. This is achieved by reviewing the development of
stakeholder analysis in business management, development and natural resource management. The
normative and instrumental theoretical basis for stakeholder analysis is discussed, and a stakeholder
analysis typology is proposed. This consists of methods for: i) identifying stakeholders; ii) differentiating
between and categorising stakeholders; and iii) investigating relationships between stakeholders. The
range of methods that can be used to carry out each type of analysis is reviewed. These methods and
approaches are then illustrated through a series of case studies funded through the Rural Economy and
Land Use (RELU) programme. These case studies show the wide range of participatory and non-partici-
patory methods that can be used, and discuss some of the challenges and limitations of existing methods
for stakeholder analysis. The case studies also propose new tools and combinations of methods that can
more effectively identify and categorise stakeholders and help understand their inter-relationships.
? 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Public participation is becoming increasingly embedded in
national and international environmental policy, as decision-
makers recognise the need to understand who is affected by the
decisions and actions they take, and who has the power to influ-
ence their outcome, i.e. the stakeholders (as defined by Freeman,
1984). Although this is avital first step in any participatoryexercise,
stakeholders are often identified and selected on an ad hoc basis.
This has the potential to marginalise important groups, bias results
and jeopardise long-term viability and support for the process. For
this reason, interest is growing in a collection of methods that can
be used for ‘‘stakeholder analysis’’. We define stakeholder analysis
as a process that: i) defines aspects of a social and natural
phenomenon affected by a decision or action; ii) identifies
individuals, groups and organisations who are affected by or can
affect those parts of the phenomenon (this may include non-
human and non-living entities and future generations); and iii)
prioritises these individuals and groups for involvement in the
Stakeholder analysis has become increasingly popular with
a wide range of organisations in many different fields, and it is
now used by policy-makers, regulators, governmental and non-
governmental organisations, businesses and the media (Friedman
and Miles, 2006). Approaches to stakeholder analysis have changed
for use in policy, development and natural resource management. It
is perhaps this variety of different approaches that has given rise to
widespread confusion over what is really meant by stakeholder
analysis (Donaldson and Preston, 1995; Stoney and Winstanley,
2001). Weyer (1996) described it as a ‘‘slippery creature’’, ‘‘used by
different people to mean widely different things’’. Donaldson and
bases and objectives’’. This may partly be due to the long period of
* Corresponding author. Tel.: þ44 1224 272 000.
E-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org (M.S. Reed).
Contents lists available at ScienceDirect
Journal of Environmental Management
journal homepage: www.elsevier.com/locate/jenvman
0301-4797/$ – see front matter ? 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Journal of Environmental Management 90 (2009) 1933–1949
may also be due to the continued attempt to aggregate different
methods and approaches under the single banner of stakeholder
analysis. In an attempt to make sense of this confusion, Section 2 of
this paperdefines stakeholders and stakeholderanalysis, andshows
how the concept has evolved in different fields.
Although a broad range of methods have been developed or
adapted for stakeholder analysis in these different disciplines, there
This paper therefore aims to provide an analysis of the history and
development of stakeholder analysis and a disaggregation of the
theoretical bases uponwhich it is founded. It seeks to illustrate how
much of the contemporary critique and debate over appropriate
methods is a reflection of the diverse reasons why stakeholder
analysis is used. This debate includes many questions about
stakeholder representation, legitimacy, participation, power, and
knowledge – essentially ‘‘who’s in,and why?’’ Forexample, howcan
diverse stakeholders be adequately represented? How can the
account?Andifstakeholders are definedbytheissuesthat are being
investigated, then who defines these issues?
The paper isorganised as follows: Section 2 describes theorigins
of stakeholder analyses in literature. Section 3 discusses methods
for stakeholder analysis that are common within research on
natural resource management. Section 4 presents four different
research projects from across the UK Research Councils’ Rural
Economy and Land Use programme1that apply stakeholder anal-
ysis. The last section presents conclusions on the use of stakeholder
analysis within natural resource management.
2. Origins and justification for stakeholder analysis
2.1. Who or what are stakeholders?
There is a difference of opinion over who or what exactly
stakeholders are. Many recent definitions of stakeholders build on
Freeman’s (1984) seminal work on stakeholder theory that distin-
guished between those who affect or are affected by a decision or
action (sometimes referred to as active and passive stakeholders in
the natural resources stakeholder literature; Grimble and Wellard,
1997). However, the concept of stakeholders predates Freeman’s
work (Rowley, 1997). According to Ramı ´rez (1999) the word
‘‘stakeholder’’ originates from the seventeenth century, where it
wasused todescribe a thirdpartyentrusted with the stakesof a bet.
Schilling (2000) argues that Follett (1918), writing in the business
management literature, makes explicit much of what Freeman
(1984) proposed several decades later.
Some stakeholder theories propose a narrower and more
instrumental definition of stakeholders as those groups or indi-
viduals ‘‘without whose support the organisation would cease to
exist’’ (Bowie, 1988: 112), whilst other definitions propose
a broader and more normative view of stakeholders as ‘‘any
naturally occurring entity that is affected by organisational
performance’’. This may include living and non-living entities, or
even mental-emotional constructs, such as respect for past
generations or the wellbeing of future generations (Starik, 1995;
Hubacek and Mauerhofer, 2008). Similarly, Checkland (1981)
suggests that whoever owns a problem should be a co-owner of
the process to solve it. Working on environmental pollution, Coase
(1960) defined stakeholders as polluters and victims. Polluters
could affect change (in this case creating pollution) and the victims
were those who were affected. Victims could be directly or indi-
rectly affected, leading to the identification of a wide range of
The debate in literature on the definition of stakeholders is in
part due to the problem of defining what constitutes a legitimate
stake. Freeman and Miles (2002) suggest that much of the liter-
ature makes implicit assumptions about the legitimacy of stake-
holders without explaining the difference between legitimate and
illegitimate stakeholders. For example, in the business manage-
ment literature, Friedman (1962) argues that the only duty of
business managers is to maximise profits for stockholders, and
concluded therefore that there are no legitimate stakeholders
other than stockholders. Stakeholder analysis opposes this posi-
tion by providing a diverse range of criteria that justify the
involvement of other individuals and groups. These range from
those based on notions of who or what affects or is affected by an
organisation’s activity (Freeman, 1984; Starik, 1995), to those
based on theories of national capital investment (Schlossberger,
(Donaldson and Preston, 1995). Frooman (1999) dismisses the
need for stakeholders to establish legitimacy over an organisa-
tion, since ‘‘the appropriateness of the stakeholder’s claim may
not matter nearly as much as the ability of the stakeholder to
affect the direction of the firm’’. Friedman and Miles (2006)
concede that this is a valid point, but nevertheless suggest that
legitimacy is an important basis of influence and that clarity is
therefore still needed on what constitutes a legitimate and
2.2. The development of stakeholder analysis
In business management, the growing realisation that stake-
holders could affect the success of a firm led naturally to the
development of approaches to analyse stakeholders, in order to
understand their interests and influence, and how these could
support or threaten the performance of the firm (Brugha and Var-
vasovsky, 2000). As such, the business management community
primarily used stakeholderanalysistomobilise, neutralise ordefeat
stakeholders, to meet the strategic objectives of firms. However
within policy, development, and natural resource management,
stakeholder analysis was increasingly seen as an approach that
could empower marginal stakeholders to influence decision-
making processes. Although this broadened the role of stakeholder
analysis, enriching its theoretical basis and analytical methods, it
also increased the complexity and difficulty of such research, since
many additional conflicting and diverse agendas had now to be
Policy analysts have long attempted to understand how infor-
mation, institutions, decisions and power shape policy agendas for
interest groups in social networks. In policy research, stakeholder
analysis has been seen as a way of generating information on the
‘‘relevant actors’’ to understand their behaviour, interests, agendas,
and influence on decision-making processes (Brugha and Varva-
sovsky, 2000). Increasingly, the views of civil society groups have
also been solicited and there is growing appreciation of the
importance of ‘‘political will’’. In political science, stakeholder
research is used to work more effectively with stakeholders, facil-
itate transparent implementation of decisions or objectives,
understand the policy context, and assess the feasibility of future
policy options (Brugha and Varvasovsky, 2000).
1The Rural Economy and Land Use programme is a collaboration between the
Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), Biotechnology and Biological
Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) and Natural Environment Research Council
(NERC). It has a budget of £24 million, with additional funding provided by the
Scottish Executive Environment and Rural Affairs Department and the Department
for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. The programme funds interdisciplinary
and participatory research to understand rural change, informing UK policy and
practice concerned with managing the countryside and rural economies.
M.S. Reed et al. / Journal of Environmental Management 90 (2009) 1933–19491934
The application of stakeholder analysis in development and the
natural resources management literature (sometimes referred to
as ‘‘diversity analysis’’, e.g., Pain, 2004) has partly been stimulated
by projects that did not adequately understand stakeholder
dynamics and failed as a result. In these fields, stakeholder anal-
ysis has focussed on understanding power dynamics and
enhancing the transparency and equity of decision-making in
development projects. For example, Lindenberg and Crosby (1981)
suggested making an inventory of those who could have a role in
decision-making, gauging their importance through their level of
influence and their interest for a particular outcome, mapping the
relationships between the actors, and understanding their
potential for developing alliances. The ‘‘4Rs’’ tool analyses how
people relate to one another over natural resource use by splitting
stakeholder roles into rights, responsibilities and revenues
(benefits), and then assessing the relationship between these
roles (Tekwe and Percy, 2001; Salam and Noguchi, 2006). Stake-
holder analysis in development and natural resource management
projects has often focussed on inclusivity, being used to empower
marginal groups, such as women, those without access to well-
established social networks, the under-privileged, or the socially
disadvantaged, and those who are not easily accessible, because
for example they live far away from main roads (Johnson et al.,
2004). In the absence of stakeholder analysis, there is a danger
that particularly powerful and well connected stakeholders can
have a greater influence on decision-making outcomes than more
marginalised groups; a problem that is especially acute in devel-
opment projects (Chambers, 1994, 1997). Having said this,
depending on the underlying agenda of those convening the
process, stakeholder analysis can be abused to empower or mar-
ginalise certain groups. In these disciplines, stakeholder analysis
has developed in parallel with and been enriched by the devel-
opment of participatory methods for project design and planning,
for example, through rapid and participatory appraisal, action
research, social forestry, and land-use planning (Grimble and
Much of the business management literature provides a rela-
tively static approach to stakeholder analysis, and fails to consider
that stakeholders, organisations, interventions and issues can
interact and change over time (Frooman,1999; Friedman and Miles,
2002; Rowley and Moldoveanu, 2003). In contrast, participatory
natural resource management and development literature advo-
cates on-going and evolving involvement of stakeholders beyond
stakeholderanalysis, at every stage of the project cycle (Fraseret al.,
2006; Stringer et al., 2006). In this way, the dynamic nature of
stakeholder needs, priorities and interests can be captured
throughout the duration of the project and beyond.
Stakeholder analysis is also used to understand the diverse
range of potentiallyconflicting stakeholder interests (Friedman and
Miles, 2006, 2004; Prell et al., 2007). Because of this, the process of
stakeholder analysis may in fact exacerbate and generate conflict
(ODA,1995). In some cases, hidden agendas or covert interests may
also skew the analysis (ODA, 1995) and Gass et al. (1997) have
expressed concern over the question of research objectivity, since
those undertaking the analysis do so from a particular perspective
or with particular outcomes in mind. Other potential problems
include the perceived lack of knowledge, skills, or resources to
conduct stakeholder analysis, concerns over what the analysis will
reveal, fears that the analysesmaybe destabilisingor manipulative;
and ethical concerns about representing the views of other people
(Bryson et al., 2002; Fraser and Hubacek, 2007).
It is partly for these reasons that stakeholder analysis is
frequently overlooked, yet a systematic, critical, and sensitive
approach to stakeholder analysis is clearly essential. Only by
understanding who has a stake in an initiative, and through
understanding the nature of their claims and inter-relationships
with each other, can the appropriate stakeholders be effectively
involved in environmental decision-making.
2.3. Normative versus instrumental approaches to stakeholder
There have been numerous attempts to classify the different
approaches to stakeholder analysis (e.g. Donaldson and Preston,
1995; Friedman and Miles, 2006). Perhaps the most significant
difference is between normative and instrumental approaches. A
third approach, descriptive stakeholder analysis, is rarely con-
ducted for its own sake, since it has no purpose beyond describing
the relationship between a particular phenomenon and its stake-
holders (Donaldson and Preston, 1995). However, since normative
and instrumental analyses require an understanding of the current
state of affairs, descriptive analyses are in effect a necessary
precursor to normative and instrumental analyses.
Normative approaches have been advocated increasingly as
stakeholder analysis has been adopted in policy, development and
natural resource management circles, emphasising the legitimacy
of stakeholder involvement and empowerment in decision-
making processes. In this context, stakeholder analysis has been
used to legitimise the decisions that are made, through the
involvement of key and/or representative figures (e.g. Donaldson
and Preston, 1995). Others have suggested that normative stake-
holder theory needs to identify who decision-makers are morally
responsible to in their legal and institutional context (Boatright,
1994; Hendry, 2001; Friedman and Miles, 2006). Drawing on the
deliberative democracy literature (Elster, 1998), it can be argued
that people have a right to participate in the management of their
Several normative stakeholder theories are influenced by Hab-
ermas’ theory on communicative action (Habermas, 1984, 1987).
Habermas distinguishes ‘‘communicative
seeking to reach shared understanding and cooperate to solve
a common problem on the basis of discussion and consensus), as
opposed to ‘‘instrumental rationality’’ (where the goal is to ‘control’
by changing reality), or ‘‘strategic rationality’’ (where the goal is to
‘win’ by making strategic moves) (Jonker and Foster, 2002; Ro ¨ling,
1996). The soft systems methodology (Checkland, 1999) agrees
with Habermas, as this approach features stakeholders who
recognize that they face a common problem which cannot be
solved by ‘hard system thinking’,2and subsequently negotiate their
conflicting goals and different perspectives in order to agree
collectively on action (Checkland, 1999; Ro ¨ling, 1996). Natural
resource management typically deals with conflicting interests of
various stakeholders since theyuse the same resources fordifferent
purposes. It is therefore important to understand the different
perspectives of the actors involved. For this reason, in the devel-
opment and natural resource management literature it is often
argued that sustainable management of natural resources requires
a soft system, i.e. a space or platform that facilitates a learning
among stakeholders by sharing, and intersubjectively validating,
their understanding of the situation in order to reach consensus
(Ro ¨ling and Jiggins, 1997; Rist et al., 2006). Stakeholder analysis in
itself does not create this platform for negotiation, but can be used
as a tool to contribute to this negotiation or learning between
2Hard systems thinking assumes that real systems exist, independently from the
human observer, and one can therefore model existing systems. Soft systems differ
from hard systems in two ways: 1) they are guided by reasons rather than driven by
causes; 2) they do not have assumed goals but instead attempt to come to shared
system goals (Ro ¨ling, 1997).
M.S. Reed et al. / Journal of Environmental Management 90 (2009) 1933–1949 1935
stakeholders. In this way, stakeholder analysis can facilitate
a ‘‘constructivist’’ approach to stakeholder participation, which
recognizes multiple perspectives of the ‘truth’, where ‘reality’ is
Instrumental stakeholder research is more pragmatic, and
largely devoted to understanding how organisations, projects
and policy-makers can identify, explain, and manage the behav-
iour of stakeholders to achieve desired outcomes. In the business
management literature, instrumental approaches have sought
to understand and influence stakeholders in a variety of ways.
For example, Freeman (1984) argued that stakeholder analysis
could improve the strategic management and thus the perfor-
mance of an organisation. In the development and natural
resource management literature, stakeholder analysis has been
used instrumentally to overcome obstacles to the adoption of new
technologies, adapt technologies to relevant user groups, or to
disseminate the same technologies in different ways to different
groups (Johnson et al., 2004). It has been argued that stakeholder
analysis can enable information and perspectives to be sought
from a far wider range of sources, providing a more robust
knowledge base from which to build development or natural
resource management initiatives (Olsson et al., 2004; Berkes,
1999; Woodhill and Ro ¨ling, 1998). This may be particularly perti-
nent when consensually agreed targets need to be reached (e.g.
Arheimer et al., 2004) or when the relevant information is sparsely
or unevenly distributed between different groups (Geurts and
Mayer, 1996). It may also be particularly important for identifying
existing conflicts between stakeholders, to ensure that these are
not exacerbated by future work.
Finally, it should be noted that normative justifications for
stakeholder analysis may lead to instrumental outcomes. The
normative basis suggests that stakeholders should be involved in
decision-making processes and thus feel some level of ownership
of these processes. By doing this, stakeholder analysis may serve
instrumental ends if it leads to the transformation of relationships
and the development of trust and understanding between partici-
pants. Although this may not necessarily lead to changes in atti-
tudes and behaviour, it may enable diverse groups of potentially
conflicting stakeholders to appreciate the legitimacy of each other’s
views and see new ways of working together (Mathews, 1994;
3. Stakeholder analysis methods in natural resource
3.1. A typology of stakeholder analysis methods
While the discussion above helps to rationalise the theoretical
basis for stakeholder analysis, both normative and instrumental
approaches have been applied in different disciplines and contexts
using awide variety of methods (Fig.1). These can be categorised as
methods used for: i) identifying stakeholders (Section 3.2); ii)
differentiating between and categorising stakeholders (Section
3.3); and iii) investigating relationships between stakeholders
(Section 3.4). Table 1 provides a summary description of each of the
methods covered in the typology, including details of the resources
required, level of stakeholder participation, and their strengths and
weaknesses. Whilst some methods may be used for more than one
purpose – for example, Social Network Analysis is primarily used to
investigate relationships between stakeholders, but can also be
used to categorise them – most are generally used for one of the
purposes identified above.
Each of the research methods in this typology may be used
either with or without the active participation of stakeholders.
Where there is considerable documentary evidence or where
analysts have an intimate knowledge of the individuals and groups
with a stake in the phenomenon under investigation (e.g. an
organisation, intervention, or issue), the stakeholder analysis can
be conducted without the active participation of the stakeholders
themselves. However, active participation may be needed if it is
unclear which issues are most pertinent to the investigation, or if
there is incomplete knowledge on the population from which the
stakeholders could be drawn. The level of participation in stake-
holder analysis can also vary considerably from passive consulta-
tion, where stakeholders simply provide information for the
analysis, to active engagement where there is a two-way exchange
of information between stakeholders and analysts as equal
Step 1: Identifying stakeholders
Step 2: Differentiating between and
Step 3: Investigating relationships
Fig. 1. Schematic representation of rationale, typology and methods for stakeholder analysis.
M.S. Reed et al. / Journal of Environmental Management 90 (2009) 1933–19491936
partners, so that stakeholders can help to direct research aims and
objectives (c.f. Rowe and Frewer, 2000).
3.2. Methods for identifying stakeholders and their stakes
Much of the stakeholder analysis literature has presumed that
stakeholders are self-evident and self-construed, and has focused
on categorising pre-identified stakeholders to understand their
interests and relationships. However, before this can be done, it is
necessary to identify who holds a stake in the phenomenon under
investigation. This in itself necessitates a clear understanding of the
issue under investigation so that the boundaries of the social and
ecological phenomenon can be established. From this clarification,
a number of methods can then be used to identify the relevant
Identifying stakeholders is usually an iterative process, during
which additional stakeholders are added as the analysis continues,
for example, using expert opinion, focus groups, semi-structured
interviews, snow-ball sampling, or a combination of these. If the
boundaries of the phenomenon itself are clearly defined, then
stakeholders can be relatively easily identified. However, there is
a risk that some stakeholders may be accidently omitted and as
a consequence not all relevant stakeholders of the phenomenon
maybe identified (Clarkson,1995). On the other hand, it is often not
possible to include all stakeholders and a line must be drawn at
some point, based on well-founded criteria established by the
research analyst (Clarke and Clegg, 1998). These may include for
example, geographical criteria like the boundary of a National Park
or demographic criteria such as nationality or age, depending on
the focus of the analysis.
Each stakeholder involved in the analysis supposedly has a stake
in the phenomenon under investigation. Nevertheless, a key
problem lies in deciding whether the phenomenon under investi-
gation should dictate which stakeholders are involved, or whether
Resources required, level of stakeholder participation, strengths and weaknesses of each of the methods identified in the typology.
Method DescriptionResources StrengthsWeaknesses
Focus groups A small group brainstorm
stakeholders, their interests,
influence and other attributes,
and categorise them
High quality facilitation; room
hire; food and drink; facilitation
materials e.g. flip-chart paper
Rapid and hence cost-effective;
adaptable; possible to reach
group consensus over
particularlyuseful for generating
data on complex issues that
require discussion to develop
Useful for in-depth insights to
stakeholder relationships and to
triangulate data collected in
Easy to secure interviews
without data protection issues;
fewer interviews declined
Less structured than some
alternatives so requires effective
facilitation for good results
Semi-structured interviews Interviews with a cross-section
of stakeholders to check/
supplement focus group data
Interview time; transport
between interviews; voice
Time-consuming and hence
costly; difficult to reach
consensus over stakeholder
Sample may be biased by the
social networks of the first
individual in the snow-ball
Snow-ball sampling Individuals from initial
stakeholder categories are
interviewed, identifying new
stakeholder categories and
Stakeholders are placed on
a matrix according to their
relative interest and influence
As above: successive
respondents in each stakeholder
category are identified during
Can be done within focus group
setting (see above), or
individually by stakeholder
during interviews (see above) or
by researcher / practitioner
Same as semi-structured
Possible to prioritise
stakeholders for inclusion;
makes power dynamics explicit
Prioritisation may marginalise
certain groups; assumes
stakeholder categories based on
interest–influence are relevant
categorise stakeholders into
categories which they have
Stakeholders sort statements
drawn from a concourse
according to how much they
agree with them, anlaysis allows
social discourses to be identified
Stakeholders are tabulated in
a two-dimensional matrix and
their relationships described
Stakeholder categories are based
on perceptions of stakeholders
Different stakeholders may be
placed in the same categories by
different respondents, making
Does not identify all possible
discourses, only the ones
exhibited by the interviewed
Materials for statement sorting;
interview time; transport
Different social discourses
surrounding an issue can be
identified and individuals can be
categorised according to their
‘fit’ within these discourses
Relatively easy, requiring few
Can be done within focus group
setting (see above), or
individually by stakeholders
during interviews (see above) or
by researcher/ practitioner
training in the approach and
analyses, time, software
Can become confusing and
difficult to use if many linkages
Social Network Analysis Used to identify the network of
stakeholders and measuring
relational ties between
stakeholders through use of
Used in conjunction with SNA;
interviews to identify
interactions and knowledges
Gain insight intothe boundaryof
stakeholder network; the
structure of the network;
stakeholders and peripheral
Identifies stakeholders that
would work well together as
well as those with power
is a bit tedious for respondents;
need specialist in the method.
Knowledge mappingSame as semi-structured
Knowledge needs may still not
be met due to differences in the
types of knowledge held and
needed by different
Time-consuming and hence
Radical transactiveness Snow-ball sampling to identify
development of strategies to
address their concerns
Training in the approach, time Identifies stakeholders and
issues that might otherwise be
missed and minimizes risks to
future of project
M.S. Reed et al. / Journal of Environmental Management 90 (2009) 1933–1949 1937
it should be the other way around. This problem is rarely consid-
ered in stakeholder analyses, possibly due to the difficult dialectic
between identifying stakeholders and identifying which aspect of
an organisation’s activities, which intervention, or which issue to
focus on. However, without knowing the issue, it is difficult toknow
which stakeholders should be involved in identifying the focus
(Dougill et al., 2006; Prell et al., 2008, inpress). As a result, the focus
is typically identified in a top-down manner by the team leading
the stakeholder analysis and may therefore reflect their interests
and biases, which might not reflect the interests of stakeholders
(Clarkson, 1995; Varvasovszky and Brugha, 2000). To address this,
Dougill et al. (2006) and Prell et al. (2008, in press) proposed an
iterative process comprising scoping interviews, focus groups, and
follow-up interviews to identify the organisations, interventions, or
issues under investigation, and hence to identify the stakeholders
(see Section 4.1 for details). Chevalier and Buckles (2008) lists
a range of other ways to identify stakeholders, including3: identi-
fication by experts or other stakeholders; by self-selection (in
response to advertisements or announcements); through written
records or census data which may provide information to catego-
rise by age, gender, religion and residence; through oral or written
accounts of major events (identifying the people who were
involved); or using a checklist of likelystakeholder categories. Once
sorted into groups (e.g. using card-sorting techniques described
below), Chevalier and Buckles (2008) recommends placing stake-
holders in a ‘‘rainbow diagram’’ that classifies them according to
the degree they can affect or be affected by a problem or action
Who is included and who is omitted may depend on the
method used for identifying stakeholders and purpose of the
stakeholder analysis. This is important, as it affects ‘‘who and
what really counts’’ (Mitchell et al., 1997). Bryson et al. (2002)
argues that an inclusive view of stakeholders is important in the
interests of social justice, since the ‘‘nominally powerless’’ must
be given a voice. Lewis (1991), on ethical grounds proposes that it
is sensible to at least start with an inclusive perspective and at
a practical level pluralism is also important, since the capacity for
a policy, plan, or project to meet its objectives may depend on
including all the appropriate stakeholders (Bryson and Bromily,
1993; Tuchman, 1984). In broad terms, if the main concern of the
stakeholder analysis is the equal distribution of the costs and
benefits of a project (e.g. in project planning and implementation),
all stakeholders may need to be included (Grimble et al., 1995).
When the main interest is the effectiveness of a project or orga-
nisation (e.g. in a management context), only those stakeholders
who are most likely to affect the functioning of the project or
organisation given their interests, resources, and influence are
normally included (Grimble et al., 1995). In both cases, the
stakeholder analysis can be improved by differentiating between
and categorising stakeholders. A range of methods have been
developed for doing this, and these will be considered in the next
3.3. Methods for differentiating between and categorising
Methods to characterise and classify stakeholders tend to follow
two broad approaches: i) top-down ‘‘analytical categorisations’’
and; ii) bottom-up ‘‘reconstructive methods’’ (Dryzek and Bereji-
3.3.1. Analytical categorisations
Analytical categorisations are a set of methods in which classi-
fication of stakeholders is carried out by those conducting the
analysis based on their observations of the phenomenon in ques-
tion and ‘embedded in some theoretical perspective on how
a system functions’ (Hare and Pahl-Wostl, 2002, p. 50). Examples of
analytical categorisations include those using levels of interest and
influence (Lindenberg and Crosby, 1981), cooperation and compe-
tition (Freeman,1984), cooperation and threat (Savage et al.,1991),
and urgency, legitimacy, and influence (Mitchell et al., 1997). Such
analyses typically make use of matrices or Venn diagrams (e.g.
Bianchi and Kossoudji, 2001; Salam and Noguchi, 2006) and are
popular with users in policy and development fields (Bryson et al.,
2002; ODA, 1995; Eden and Ackermann, 1998).
One popular method used interest and influence to classify
stakeholders into ‘‘Key players, ‘‘Context setters’’, ‘‘Subjects’’ and
‘‘Crowd’’ (e.g. Eden and Ackermann,1998; De Lopez, 2001). This can
then help to specify how stakeholders might be engaged, for
example, for instrumental ends. Key players for example are
stakeholderswho should to be activelygroomed, because theyhave
high interest in and influence over a particular phenomenon.
Context setters are highly influential, but have little interest.
Because of this, they may be a significant risk, and should be
monitored and managed. Subjects have high interest but low
influence and although by definition they are supportive, they lack
the capacity for impact, although they may become influential by
forming alliances with other stakeholders. These are often the
marginal stakeholders that development projects seek to empower
(Section 2.2). The ‘‘Crowd’’ are stakeholders who have little interest
in or influence over desired outcomes and there is little need to
consider them in much detail or to engage with them. Interest and
influence typically change over time and the impact of such change
can be considered. For example, stakeholders may form alliances to
either promote or defeat a particular outcome and a stakeholder
analysis can be used to identify where such alliances are likely to
arise. The analytical power of categorisation approaches can be
improved by adding further attributes to the stakeholders. Patterns
in these attributes can then be considered in terms of the catego-
risation factors. For example, stakeholders located in an interest
and influence matrix could also be labelled as ‘‘supportive’’ or
‘‘unsupportive’’. This could be visually represented to determine
whether there are any clusters of supportive or unsupportive
stakeholders and if so, the implications considered in the context of
interest and influence. Any number of stakeholder attributes can be
included in this way and the resulting patterns examined and the
For environmental management and development work, one of
the main drawbacks of such analytical categorisation is that it tends
Fig. 2. Rainbow diagram for classifying stakeholders according to the degree they can
affect or be affected by a problem or action (from: Chevalier and Buckles, 2008).
a rangeofadditional techniques,seehttp://www.sas2.net/index.
M.S. Reed et al. / Journal of Environmental Management 90 (2009) 1933–19491938
to identify the ‘usual suspects’ and there is a danger that this may
lead to the under-representation of marginalised or powerless
groups (Calton and Kurland, 1996; Grimble and Chan, 1995; Mac-
Arthur, 1997). Whilst this can lead to the concerns of vulnerable
stakeholders being ignored, such groups may form alliances to
affect significant change when they disagree with or feel threat-
ened by the phenomenon under investigation. In both cases, it is
important to include them. In addition, these methods are often
used in the absence of direct stakeholder participation in the
analysis and therefore may reflect the biases of the researchers
rather than the perceptions of the stakeholders themselves, leading
to questions about the legitimacy based on these categorisations.
An alternative approach known as ‘‘radical transactiveness’’ (Hart
and Sharma, 2004) reverses this, focussing instead on opening two-
way dialogue with stakeholders who would otherwise be consid-
ered peripheral. This typically includes those who are remote,
weak, poor, uninterested, isolated, or non-legitimate, but whose
views may be disruptive. Hart and Sharma (2004) argue that this
enables powerful and fringe stakeholders to influence each other
and avoid potentially disruptive relationships in the future. They
recognise that such fringe stakeholders may hold knowledge and
perspectives that can help anticipate potential future natural
resource problems and identify innovative opportunities for future
3.3.2. Reconstructive categorisations
In response to these limitations, more bottom-up, ‘reconstruc-
tive methods’ (Dryzek and Berejikian, 1993) have been developed,
which allow categorisations and parameters to be defined by the
stakeholders themselves, so that the analysis reflects theirconcerns
more closely (Hare and Pahl-Wostl, 2002).
For example, Hare and Pahl-Wostl (2002) applied a card-sorting
method used in experimental psychology in their stakeholder-led
management project. Each stakeholder was asked to sort cards
listing all the stakeholders in a city water system into groups
according to their own criteria. It was used as awayof ‘identify(ing)
the structure of groupings and interactions between stakeholders’
from the stakeholders’ perspectives so that the models developed
during the research would reflect the understanding of the stake-
An alternative, less direct method, also drawn from psychology
but widely used in political science alongside discourse analysis, is
Q methodology. Discourse analysis identifies the ways in which
people think and talk about an issue and in particular the shared
perceptions and common ground between individuals. Q meth-
odology is then employed to group individuals into ‘social
discourses’ based on these shared perceptions and commonalities
(Barry and Proops, 1999). Q methodology has been used in envi-
ronmental policy research, where analysis of conflicting knowledge
claims might lead to more effective policy solutions (Ockwell,
2008). In both the card-sorting method and Q methodology the
categorisation of stakeholders is based on an empirical analysis of
stakeholder perceptions rather than on theoretical perspectives
(Barry and Proops, 1999).
While card sorting and Q methodology can involve a large
number of stakeholders, the difficulty of engaging meaningfully
with them means that in many cases, not everyone identified as
a stakeholder can be involved in all aspects of the process. This
leads inevitably to a need to identify a sub-set of stakeholders
whose views are representative of the larger stakeholder group
(Prell et al., 2008, in press). If such stakeholder-led research
methods are to be used, then greater flexibility in research and
policy interventions is necessary. By defining their own categories,
stakeholders make the analysis relevant to their own concerns and
circumstances. This may shift the original focus of research, which
could lead to novel output, but might equally be distracting.
Finally, Strategic Perspectives Analysis (Dale and Lane, 1994)
uses interviews or workshops with stakeholders to identify and
compare the goals of different groups, and the perceived oppor-
tunities and constraints they have to reach their goals. In this way
(often using repeat interviews), categories of stakeholders who
share similar goals can be identified. The information collected
during this process may also be a useful to negotiations between
conflicting groups. This approach is similar to conflict mapping
(Cornelius and Faire, 1989), which focuses on needs rather than
stated positions or goals.
3.4. Methods for investigating stakeholder relationships
Finally, there are a collection of methods that have been
developed to investigate the relationships that exist between
stakeholders (as individuals and groups) in the context of a partic-
ular phenomenon. There are three principal methods that have
been used to analyse stakeholder relationships: i) Actor-linkage
matrices ii) Social Network Analysis provides insights into patterns
of communication, trust and influence between actors in social
networks, and; iii) Knowledge Mapping analyses the content of
information between these actors.
3.4.1. Actor-linkage matrices
A commonly used means of describing stakeholder interrela-
tions is through actor-linkage matrices (Biggs and Matsaert, 1999;
ODA,1995). These require stakeholders to be listed in the rows and
columns of a table creating a grid so that the interrelations between
them can be described, using key words. One popular method for
example is to determine whether the relationships between each
stakeholder are of conflict, complementary, or cooperation. The
advantage of this approach is its simplicity of use and flexibility. As
actor-linkage matrices require no more than pen and paper, they
have been particular valuable in development, where due to
resource limitations, research may need to be conducted without
the use of computers.
3.4.2. Social Network Analysis (SNA)
Similar to actor-linkage matrices, Social Network Analysis
makes use of matrices to organize data on the relational ties linking
stakeholders together. Rather than using key words in the matrix
cells, SNA uses numbers to represent i) the presence/absence of
a tie; ii) the relative strength of the tie. Each matrix represents
a unique relation, for example, communication; friendship; advice;
conflict; trust, etc. Data is typically gathered through structured
interview, questionnaire, or observation (Wasserman and Faust,
1994). Thus, SNA captures notonly different kinds of relations (both
positive and negative), but also the strength of those relational ties,
and records this information in quantitative form that makes it easy
for summarization and analysis. Analysis of these matrices
uncovers the structure of the stakeholder network, thus identifying
which stakeholders are more central; which are marginal; and how
stakeholders cluster together.
In natural resources management, Social Network Analysis
(SNA) can be used to help identify stakeholders, ensure key groups
are not marginalised, identify conflict between stakeholders, and
select representatives based on the way that the network is
structured. Such information is especially important in natural
resources management initiatives that seek to influence the
behaviour of stakeholders through key influential individuals (c.f.
Rogers, 1995; Prell, et al., 2008, in press). Both the social network
and resource management literature discuss how networks influ-
ence individuals and groups. Research on the strength of ties
M.S. Reed et al. / Journal of Environmental Management 90 (2009) 1933–19491939
between individuals, for example, shows that ‘‘strong’’ ties produce
different outcomes to ‘‘weak’’ ties. Strong ties (as defined by
Granovetter, 1973) are based on a combination of characteristics,
such as intimacy, emotional intensity, time, and reciprocity. The
higher a tie scores on each of these characteristics, the stronger the
tie. There are several advantages of strong ties for natural resources
management. Stakeholders who share strong ties are more likely to
influence one another, and thus, creating strong ties among diverse
stakeholders can enhance mutual learning, and the sharing of
resources and advice (Newman and Dale, 2005; Crona and Bodin,
2006; Newman and Dale, 2007). However, the benefits of strong
ties may be countered by the redundancy of information that
typically runs through them.
In contrast,diverse information and new ideas have been shown
to travel best through weak ties. Research has shown that weak ties
tend to exist between dissimilar individuals, and as such, offer
stakeholders access to diverse pools of information and resources
by bridging otherwise disconnected segments of the network.
Within the context of natural resource management, weak ties that
link diverse individuals and groups together and bridge discon-
nected segments of a network can make it more resilient and
adaptive to environmental change. A potential drawback to weak
ties, however, is that they are easy to break. In addition, individuals
sharing weak ties may lack the trust and understanding that is
needed for meaningful dialogue over environmental issues (Gran-
ovetter,1973; Burt,1992, 2000, 2001; Newman and Dale, 2005). By
quantifying the extent to which stakeholders trust one another,
SNA can identify problematic relationships, and when supple-
mented with qualitative data, can be used to identify the nature of
conflicts between individuals and groups. It may be possible to
identify specific individuals who are widely perceived by others in
the network to be untrustworthy. This information can be used to
select stakeholders to work together who are likely to trust one
another, and may help avoid exacerbating conflicts between
stakeholders (see Section 4.4 for an illustration).
Closely related to this is the way in which various stakeholder
attributes influence which ties are established within a network.
Homophily, where similar individuals are attracted to each another
and thus choose to intensify their interaction, is well-documented
in social networks (Friedkin,1998; Ruef et al., 2004; Skvoretz et al.,
2004). Stakeholders who are similar to one another are better able
to communicate tacit, complex information, because there is
a better level of understanding between them. However, homo-
phily can also be problematic, because successful natural resource
management projects require different views and opinions to be
recognised and discussed (Crona and Bodin, 2006; Newman and
Dale, 2007). In such situations, it may be beneficial to increase the
diversity of stakeholders engaged in the project.
A further concept of importance in the natural resource
management literature is centralisation. A highly centralised
network is characterised by relatively few individuals holding
the majority of ties with other individuals in the network.
Although centralised networks are helpful for the initial phase of
forming groups and building support for collective action
(Olsson et al., 2004; Crona and Bodin, 2006), research suggests
that centralised networks are also a disadvantage for long-term
planning and problem solving. Long-term goals in fact require
a more decentralised structure, where there are more ties, both
weak and strong, between all the stakeholders (Crona and Bodin,
3.4.3. Knowledge mapping
Knowledge mapping is an increasingly important tool within
businesses and organisations, particularly in terms of fostering
improved innovation and competitive advantage (Cole, 1998).
Knowledge mapping evolved from organisational charts, which
were tools for control and planning. However, in order to
successfully manage a natural resource system that is subject to
numerous changes, responses, and feedbacks from various sectors
of society (or in the case of business, a system that is subject to both
internal and external changes), more flexible approaches are
needed in order to enhance communication and facilitate learning.
Businesses have responded to this need by emphasising the
importance of knowledge management, within which knowledge
mapping can play a useful role (Nissen and Levitt, 2004). To date
however, it has been little applied to the natural resource
management context, the exception being work on agricultural
networks and technology transfer (e.g. see FAO, 1995).
When used in conjunction with SNA, knowledge mapping may
provide an important method for: i) extending the ‘‘who knows
who’’ of SNA by providing a visual representation of ‘‘who knows
what’’ (Wexler, 2001) that captures the knowledge of different
stakeholders across time, people and locations (Nissen and Levitt,
2004); ii) identifying the dominant flows of knowledge (Eppler,
2001); iii) identifying knowledge bottlenecks and areas of latent
knowledge; iv) locating and explaining knowledge seepage, for
example through the migration or loss of keystakeholder groups or
individuals; v) assisting individuals within the system to under-
stand the other types of knowledge of different individuals and
groups within the system, and; vi) helping researchers to group
stakeholders more effectively in order to promote learning. By
mapping linkages in a knowledge system, information exchange
mechanisms can be identified and evaluated, providing an over-
view of power and control of the linkages and highlighting whose
interests are being met (FAO, 1995).
It may be possible to use knowledge maps in conjunction with
SNA to address the question of whose agenda is being met, by
identifying stakeholders who are particularly knowledgeable about
a specific issue and determining how their knowledge is being used
and by whom. For example, although knowledge maps might
indicate that a substantial proportion of stakeholders within the
network are ‘‘knowledgeable’’, SNA might indicate that there are
few pathways through which that knowledge can be distributed
across the wider stakeholder network. Conversely, knowledge
needs might become apparent from other stakeholders in the
knowledge map and researchers could then structure focus groups
to bring together knowledgeable stakeholders with those needing
this knowledge. This is an important step towards fostering effec-
tive collaboration and social learning, a well as innovation (Ram-
ı ´rez, 1997) providing a means by which latent knowledge can be
released within the appropriate social network. Used in this way,
knowledge mapping is a novel method within stakeholder analysis,
which can aid the development and diffusion of knowledge within
4. Applying stakeholder analysis: experience from the RELU
The previous sections of the paper have examined the history
and theory of stakeholder analysis in the context of business
management. They have also examined which methods have been
used in three critical steps of stakeholder analysis, identifying
stakeholders and their stakes, differentiating between and cate-
gorising stakeholders, and methods for investigating stakeholder
relationships. The following section of the paper uses four case
study projects from the UK Rural Economy and Land Use Pro-
gramme (RELU) that all use stakeholderanalysis, todiscuss howthe
analysis was applied in each, what problems arose, and how these
problems were overcome.
and natural resources
M.S. Reed et al. / Journal of Environmental Management 90 (2009) 1933–19491940
First, the RELU-Birds case study is used to clarify and illustrate
some of the basic theoretical concepts and critically evaluate the
use of interest and influence as a means of categorising stake-
matrices can be used to analyse changes in the composition of
stakeholders associated with a phenomenon over time. RELU-Deer
Management goes beyond this to qualitatively explore stakeholder
interrelations through their common interests in deer manage-
ment. RELU-Sustainable Uplands characterizes stakeholder rela-
tionships more quantitatively, in the context of a qualitative
stakeholder identification and categorisation.
The following sections describe how stakeholder analysis has
been applied in each of these projects, illustrating the rationale
behind their choice of methods to conduct different types of
stakeholder analysis, according to the typology described in Fig. 1.
4.1. Reviewing some basic theory: the development of a framework
for evaluating interest and influence on RELU-birds
The RELU-Birds project, Evaluating the Options for Combining
Economically, Socially and Ecologically Sustainable Agriculture
(2006–2009), aims to understand and predict how farmers make
management decisions on arable farms and how this affects
farmland bird populations, which have declined dramatically since
the 1970s. Within this, the stakeholder analysis seeks to identify
individuals and groups with ‘‘interest’’ in and ‘‘influence’’ over
farmland bird populations (see discussion about using interest and
influence to categorise stakeholders in Section 3.3.1) in order to
provide a research context for the project and future recommen-
dations. A non-participatory approach was used, the justification
for this being based partly on resource limitations, and partly
because farmland birds in the UK are well-researched, and
evidence of the interest and influence of stakeholders is available in
scientific papers, the electronic media, and through key informants
(see discussion of participatory and non-participatory stakeholder
analysis in Section 3.1 and the levels of participation usually
involved in different stakeholder analysis methods in Table 1).
Stakeholders were initially identified, using a focus group with
researchers, to ask which individuals and groups had interest in
and influence over farmland bird populations in the UK. In recog-
nition of the fact that stakeholder analyses are iterative, a ‘‘stake-
holder analysis tool’’ was developed to facilitate the analysis
(Fig. 3). This allowed stakeholders to be classified in an ‘‘interest–
influence’’ matrix, which displayed their attributes and inter-rela-
tionships. The tool was subsequently used to map stakeholder
interest and influence with key informants from the research,
policy, and farming sectors. Through this iterative process, a final
analysis based on peer-reviewed literature, electronic media and
key informant interviews was established.
However, development of a framework for evaluating interest
and influence within the stakeholder analysis tool raised significant
difficulties, since in the stakeholder literature, there is little guid-
ance on how these can be assessed or measured. For example, most
discussions on ‘‘interest’’ focus on defining what constitutes
a legitimate ‘‘stake’’ in the affairs of other individuals or groups (see
Section 2.1 for a discussion of what makes a legitimate stake).
Legitimacy was here seen in terms of entitlement to the flow of
benefits from land as defined by property rights (Donaldson and
Preston, 1995). The ecosystems framework was then used to
identify and classify stakeholders according to their interest in the
Fig. 3. A screenshot of the Stakeholder Analysis Tool developed to aid the stakeholder analysis.
M.S. Reed et al. / Journal of Environmental Management 90 (2009) 1933–19491941
goods and services provided by the regulating, production, habitat,
carrier, and information functions of agricultural land (de Groot
et al., 2002, 2006).
The stakeholder literature does even less to provide an expla-
nation of ‘‘influence’’. In the social psychology literature, influence
is described as the ‘‘process of affecting the thoughts, behaviour,
and feelings of another’’ and ‘‘the capacity for influence is depen-
dent on power’’ (Nelson and Quick, 1994). There are many theo-
retical descriptions of power that operate at different social scales
and it is surprising that stakeholder theories have not drawn more
from these. Only Mitchell et al. (1997) have proposed use of the
concepts provided by Etzioni (1964), who suggested that power
could be coercive, utilitarian, and normative. Here, the analysis
developed by Galbraith (1983) was used. This proposes that there
are three instruments of power: condign, compensatory, and
conditioning power, and three sources of power: personality,
property, and organisation.
Condign power gains influence through emotional, financial,
and physical threats and punishment. Compensatory power works
through symbolic, financial and material rewards, such as salaries,
bribes, or gifts of land. Conditioning power works through
manipulation of belief, for example, through peer groups, cultural
norms, education, advertising, or propaganda. These instruments of
power are accessed through various sources, including personality/
leadership (which provides access through charisma, physical
strength, mental intelligence or charm), wealth or organisation.
However, access to such instruments and sources of powerdoes not
in itself equate to influence, since stakeholders may choose not to
From an iterative application of this conceptual framework
(Table 1) and tool (Fig. 3) with key informants, and through use of
evidence in peer-reviewed literature and the electronic media,
a graphical representation of the stakeholders was developed in an
interest–influence grid (Fig. 4; see Section 3.3.1 for an introduction
and discussion about technique). A benefit of this visual repre-
sentation was the possibility of finding patterns in the distribution
of various stakeholder attributes in the interest–influence matrix.
Forexample, stakeholders with production interestsweregenerally
more influential than those with habitat interests, since production
interests have been heavily supported by British and EU policy,
especially the CAP.
As well as helping explain how current stakeholder interests
and influence have led to the current decline in farmland bird
populations, the stakeholder analysis provided guidance on how
stakeholders, institutions, and policies could be engaged to halt and
reverse the decline of farmland birds. This decline has been linked
to agricultural intensification, and a rearrangement of stakeholder
interests and influence are needed if this is to be reversed.
Fundamentally, this necessitates a realignment of property rights
and entitlement to the flow of benefits from agricultural land,
a process that is occurring in avariety of ways. Stakeholders such as
the RSPB or the Wildlife Trust, with broader ecosystem interests for
example, have formed alliances of power to make their interests
felt through measures to protect biodiversity and the environment,
such as the Birds Directive (79/409/EEC), the Wildlife and Coun-
tryside Act (1981), and the Habitats Directive (92/43/EEC). More
recently, CAP payments have been made dependent on cross-
compliance and Defra now holds a Public Service Agreement to
reverse the decline of farmland birds by 2020.4However, it is worth
noting that the balance of power between different stakeholders,
and their entitlement to property rights, is in a state of dynamic
tension and shifts may occur with increasing rapidity, as the
demand for competing ecosystem goods and services grows.
4.2. Identifying and categorising dynamic stakeholders on
The RELU-floodplains project, Integrated Floodplain Manage-
ment, seeks to determine the scope for achieving the multiple
objectives of agricultural production, biodiversity and landscape
management, flood risk management and support to the rural
economy in floodplain areas in England. It explores how water
regime management, namely the control of flooding and ground
water levels, can be used to achieve outcomes which serve a range
of stakeholder interests. The project makes explicit links between
ecosystem functions and stakeholder interests (de Groot, 2006),
evident for example between: production functions and farmers;
regulation functions and flood risk managers; habitat functions and
biodiversity managers; carrier functions and floodplain residents;
Fig. 4. Interest–influence matrix for Integrated Management of Floodplains RELU Project showing stakeholders with property rights.
M.S. Reed et al. / Journal of Environmental Management 90 (2009) 1933–19491942
and cultural functions and local authorities managing public access
to the countryside.
The floodplain studysites for this project wereinitiallydefended
against flooding and artificially drained during the 1960s and 1970s
as part of programmes of public support to farming and food
production. At that time, agricultural production was synonymous
with the public good, and Government agencies, such as the
Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, used ‘permissive
powers’ (i.e. empowered to intervene if appropriate but without
any obligation) and public funds for this purpose. More recently,
however, priorities in floodplains have moved away from agricul-
tural primacy to a more diverse set of non-production oriented
functions and related interests, such as flood regulation and habitat
management. These changes in priority reflect a redistribution of
stakeholder interest and influences and, in turn, changes in prop-
erty rights that determine entitlement to flows of ecosystem
benefits from floodplains (Table 2).
The floodplain case demonstrates how stakeholder analysis can
be used to explain the role of property rights in natural resource
management, and the underlying tensions that arisewhen newand
strengthening interests cannot exert influence because of limited
entitlement. Indeed, property rights are not absolute, but rather
conditional on and derived from social preferences that change
over time (Tawney, 1948; Bromley and Hodge, 1990). The property
rights embodied in agricultural tenure, for example, reflect
a primacygiven to production. Some agricultural entitlements have
been attenuated in recent years by environmental regulation, with
and without compensation to farmers.
These issues are being played out on the Beckingham Marshes,
an agricultural floodplain along the River Trent opposite to the
town Gainsborough, and one of the eight case studies being
considered. Semi-structured interviews with the main stake-
holders provided insights of changes in the land and water
management over time in response to changing policy drivers and
the motivation of key stakeholders, notably the hydrological
regulator (the Environment Agency and its predecessors), farmers,
and, more recently, environmental interest groups. Prior to 1939,
the Marsh was down to wet grass and woodland, mostly willow.
Some arable farming occurred during the WWII period. In the
1960s and 1970s, successive improvements were made to flood
defences and drainage systems that provided enhancements for
agricultural production with flood storage for the 1 in 10 year flood
event to help protect the adjacent urban area.
The majority of the Marsh has been held in public ownership by
the Environment Agency and its predecessors, reflecting the
dominant interest of flood regulation. Farmer occupiers have life-
long tenancy rights and derive benefits of flood protection to the
design standard, paying land drainage fees to the Internal Drainage
Board for services rendered. Thus for three decades the main
interests have focussed on regulation functions (floodwater storage
and drainage) and production functions (agriculture), with limited
attention given to other ecosystem functions and services. In the
last 10 years, however, declining profitability of conventional
farming, increased importance given to nature conservation in
floodplains, and the availability of agri-environment options for
wet grassland, have promoted broader based interests in sites such
as Beckingham Marshes.
Information on the stakeholders was mainly collected through
semi-structured interviews for this case study, but the stakeholders
had no active involvement in constructing the interest–influence
matrix which might have revealed less obvious dynamics or
conflicts in addition. Table 3 gives an overview of the current
interests in ecosystem uses of some stakeholders in the Becking-
ham Marshes. Mapping stakeholders on an influence and interest
matrix shows that in the past stakeholders interested in regulation
and production functions were key players, holding property rights
bestowed through land-ownership (Fig. 4; see Section 3.3.1 for
more about technique). More recently, however, stakeholders with
interests in habitat and information functions are exerting influ-
ence through strategic liaisons with key players with formal enti-
tlementto land, includinginfluence
programmes for floodplain wetlands. RSPB, for example, has
pursued its interest by acquiring an agricultural tenancy with the
Environment Agency for the purpose of wetland creation on 90 ha,
qualifying for agri-environment payments in the process. As more
and diverse stakeholders seek entitlements to serve their interests,
conflicts arise and stakeholders begin to bargain in order to achieve
desired outcomes, often involving multiple ecosystem services.
The stakeholder analysis was applied instrumentally here to
reveal the interests and influence of the stakeholders, in order to
understand synergies and conflicts between the stakeholders and
their demand for the ecosystem functions and services delivered by
rural floodplains. Interest and power are not static, and as stake-
holders change position (e.g. the RSPB), tensions arise when key
players have conflicting interests.
4.3. Exploring stakeholder relationships qualitatively on RELU-Deer
The RELU-Deer Management project, Collaborative Frameworks
in Land Management (2006–2009), aims to investigate the process
of collaboration in natural resource management via a case study of
wild deer in Britain. Wild deer present a complex natural resource
management issue and have the potential to affect increasing
numbers of actors across the contemporary British landscape. It is
widely accepted that the number and distribution of deer in the
landscape have been increasing in recent decades and are now at
their highest level, perhaps for centuries. Deer are a highly valued
economic and cultural resource and whilst the impact of wild deer
upon agriculture and forestry (through their browsing, trampling
and other behaviours) have been acknowledged for some time,
contemporary social phenomena – such as increasing fragmenta-
tion of land-ownership, increased attention to nature and its
conservation, increased demand for mobility and transport, and
The framework of analysis developed to evaluate the different dimensions of stakeholder ‘‘interest’’ and ‘‘influence’’.
Ecosystem function Instruments of powerSources of influence
Regulation ProductionHabitat InformationCarrierCondign CompensatoryConditioning PersonalityProperty Organisation
Note: high (þþþ), moderate (þþ), low (þ), or insignificant () level of interest, access to source of power, or use of instrument of power to influence.
M.S. Reed et al. / Journal of Environmental Management 90 (2009) 1933–19491943
heightened concern for animal welfare – now combine with these
growing populations to broaden and increase the range of ways in
which people and deer interact. Deer can be highly mobile, moving
across the landscape, crossing ownership and jurisdictional
boundaries, interacting variously with an increasingly large
number of actors. Within this contemporary scenario, those who
‘have a stake’ in relation to wild deer are numerous and wide-
spread, certainly beyond those actors traditionally involved directly
in deer management. Collaboration between these many stake-
holders, both old and new, is seemingly essential for effective
action. Here ‘collaboration’ refers, essentially, to joint-working
between stakeholders – a conceptualisation advanced in Gray’s
(1985: 912) seminal work which defined collaboration as a ‘pooling
of appreciations and/or tangible resources . by two or more
stakeholders to solve a set of problems that neither can solve
individually.’ The term is commonly used in parallel with, or in
place of, several others such as co-management and participation
(Borrini-Feyerabend et al., 2007).
This project has employed primarily qualitative methods,
particularly semi-structured interviewing, to complete its stake-
holder analysis. Interviewing is a core research method used across
all social sciences and should be considered as a ‘conversation . in
which one person has the role of researcher’ (Gray, 2004: 213). In
a semi-structured interview the researcher is guided by a pre-set
interview protocol (or ‘schedule’ – a set of questions or a simple list
of subjects for discussion), but does so flexibly, allowing the inter-
viewee to respond in the order and manner of their choosing.
Questions can be asked and answered in or out of sequence, and
furthermore, semi-structured interviewingallows the researcherto
ask additional questions that occur to them during the interview
but which may not be on the protocol. Semi-structured interviews
are most useful where the researcher seeks information regarding
a specific, defined phenomenon (such as an event or document) or
some aspect thereof, and can produce reasonably focused (hence
comparable) data, but with significant depth or ‘richness’.
Within this project’s semi-structured interviewing, open ques-
tions focused upon key issues relating to deer, collaboration, and
information flow from an organisational point of view. Some
quantitative methods, such as simple network analysis (Section
3.4.2) and Likert scale questioning, have also featured in the
process. For example, interviewees were asked to rank organisa-
tional influence over deer-related issues. Similar to Chevalier and
Buckles’s (2008) ‘‘rainbow diagram (Section 3.2), a ‘target’ diagram
was used to obtain interviewees’ perceptions of organisational
interest in deer and shared interests. Conceptually, deer were at the
centre of the ‘target’ surrounded by concentric rings representing
the ‘core’ and ‘periphery’ around them and their management.
Respondents were asked to note how much interest an organisa-
tion had in deer by placing them either within the ‘core’ or
‘periphery’, and, by placing organisations close together, indicate
the ‘closeness’ of their interests. This proved to be a difficult task
for several interviewees as these interests and relationships, upon
close consideration, proved complex. A stakeholder database
populated by a content analysis of published policy and position
statements is also under development. This is designed to provide
a basis for comparison and categorisation, along with being a useful
tool for the stakeholders themselves.
Within this project, stakeholder analysis has multiple objec-
tives. Initially it has been used to identify the breadth of actors with
a ‘stake’ in relation to wild deer (i.e. the ‘stakeholders’). Deer
management can sometimes be narrowly constructed – dominated
by traditional groups, approaches and epistemologies – and only
a few actors deemed legitimate or able to able act. A long-estab-
lished legislative framework, combined with centuries of tradition
and practice, ties the management of wild deer veryclosely to land-
ownership and management. Primarily, this is because with land-
ownership comes the right to kill, or authorise others to kill, deer.
These ‘core’ actors were the logical starting point for our analysis,
but in order to move beyond this group, towards Freeman’s defi-
nition (1984), the project team refocused the issue and debate on
the ‘impacts’ that deer have upon society. This essentially allowed
us to ask those at the ‘core’, as part of the semi-structured inter-
views, to identify additional actors who affect or are affected by
deer, without challenging the legitimised institutions of direct
management. This process directly identified more than sixty
organisations as stakeholders. From this wewere able to attempt to
engage another round of, more peripheral, stakeholders. Thus, like
the Sustainable Uplands case study, our stakeholder analysis
adopted an iterative approach.
The primary objective of our stakeholder analysis has been
instrumental, investigating existing and potential collaborative
relationships between stakeholders, and the barriers to and drivers
of these relationships. As has been noted, the collaborative process
is the primary target of the research and through the stakeholder
analysis, we have been able to gauge the closeness and extent of
existing collaboration, its objectives and basis. We are able to
identify which actors are currently considered key to the collabo-
rative effort and why. Some are important financial supporters,
other possess essential knowledge, whilst others still may have
already recognised appropriate linkages, shared interests and made
efficiencies upon which further collaboration may be built. This
then allows us to consider which stakeholders are bypassed and
how their collaboration may benefit other stakeholders, along with
how such input may affect existing management objectives.
4.4. Exploring stakeholder relationships quantitatively on
The RELU-SustainableUplands project(2004–2009) was
designed to combine knowledge from local stakeholders, policy-
makers and social and natural scientists to anticipate, monitor and
sustainably manage rural change in UK uplands. The project
combines experience and ideas from local people with insights
from natural and social science to develop options for people to
adapt in each of three upland study sites (Peak District National
Park, Nidderdale Area of Outstanding National Beauty in the
Stakeholders’ interests in ecosystem functions and uses in the Beckingham Marshes.
Function Use ValueStakeholders
Agricultural production (incl. bio-fuel crops)
Flood water storage, drainage
Enhancement wet habitats for breeding waders
Economic gains from crop and livestock production
Avoided damage due to flooding
Contribution to UK BAP targets
EA-FRM, IDB, farmers, local industry, RSPB
RSPB, OnTrent Initiative, Nottingham Wildlife Trust,
Local residents, local industry, farmers, local
RSPB, local residents, local authority
Carrier Transport, industrial site and settlementsLiving space and revenues local industry
Information Amenity and landscapeOpen space and public access
M.S. Reed et al. / Journal of Environmental Management 90 (2009) 1933–19491944
Yorkshire Dales, and Galloway in southern Scotland), and identify
ways policy-makers can support adaptation (for detailed context,
see Prell et al., 2007).
Stakeholder analysis in this project was primarily instrumental,
to achieve the short-term goals of the project which relied heavily
on stakeholder involvement, and to achieve the long-term goal of
developing sustainable land management and policy options to
adapttofuture change in uplands. A range of participatory methods
wereused toconduct a stakeholderanalysisthat cut acrossall three
distinctions identified in our typology (Section 2.3) by identifying
stakeholders, categorising them and investigating the relationships
between individuals and groups in the stakeholder network.
An iterative approach was taken to the stakeholder analysis,
using focus groups, combined with semi-structured interviews,
follow-up phone interviews with original focus group participants,
and SNA (see Sections 3.2 and 3.4.2 for a more detailed discussion
of these techniques). A focus group was conducted initially with
members of a stakeholder organisation that had been involved in
the project from the beginning (the Moors for the Future partner-
ship), and two key stakeholder organisations they had identified
(the National Trust and Peak District National Park Authority). To
avoid bias arising from initial group composition (the organisations
present were not able to represent all stakeholder interests), focus
group data were triangulated through semi-structured interviews
with eight stakeholders identified during the focus group to
represent different land management perspectives. The aim of the
focus group and subsequent interviews was to evaluate and adapt
the proposed aims of the project in order to ensure it was focussing
on relevant issues and subsequently to identify and categorise
stakeholders. This led to the suggestion that the project should
focus more strongly on a single issue in order to achieve its aims
within the time available. There was near unanimous agreement
that heather burning was the most pressing land management
issue due to the Government’s ongoing and highly contentious
review of the Heather and Grass Burning Code. By filling in a table
to evaluate each category of stakeholder in turn, this led to the
following outcomes: i) a list of stakeholders and their stakes in
upland management (we identified over 200 relevant stakeholder
organisations); ii) a list of eight stakeholder categories; iii) infor-
mation about how these categories of stakeholder related to one
another; and iv) the most effective ways for researchers to gain
their support and active involvement in the research (Table 4).
Although Stakeholder-Derived Stakeholder Categorisation (Hare
and Pahl-Wostl, 2002) was attempted (Section 3.3.2), there was so
much overlap between the membership of different categories that
the results were meaningless (all stakeholders were represented
under more than one category and many were represented under
numerous categories, depending upon who did the categorisation).
Categorisation was therefore done in the focus group and refined
through subsequent interviews and follow-up phone interviews
with focus group participants (to discuss proposed changes to their
original categorisation) until consensus was reached. The stake-
holder categories that were identified included: water companies;
recreational groups; agriculture; conservationists; grouse moor
interests (owners/managers and gamekeepers); tourism-related
enterprises; foresters; and statutory bodies. Initial interviewees
from each stakeholder category were identified as part of this
process and (following a snow-ball sampling approach) these
people contacted others to see if they were interested in taking part
in the research. In this way it was possible to conduct interviews
with individuals from each stakeholder category to ensure that
a cross-section of all relevant stakeholders had been included in the
research. This approach also enhanced the likelihood that stake-
holders would agree to be interviewed, as compared with ‘‘cold
During a further eighty interviews in the Peak District National
Park, stakeholders were asked about their relationships with other
stakeholders in the study area. These interviews were the basis for
a Social Network Analysis (Section 3.4.2). This revealed the various
roles individuals played, and identified the more peripheral
stakeholders. It was also possible to identify individuals who were
widely perceived to be untrustworthy by others in the network.
Additional informationabout one
researchers to de-select him from focus groups to avoid creating
conflict with some stakeholders and biasing other stakeholders
who would be afraid to express their opinions in his presence.
Categories of stakeholder were then targeted on the basis of this
information for inclusion in the research process to reduce bias,
strengthen the legitimacy of the sample group, and include
a variety of knowledges relevant to the research process. Towards
this end, the network of stakeholders was analysed on the basis of
who communicated with whom on land management issues. This
analysis resulted in locating which stakeholders shared the same
position (and thus role) within a network. In particular, individuals
were seen as ‘structurally equivalent’ if they had the same ties to
and from the same individuals in the network (Wasserman and
Faust, 1994). This information was then used to categorise stake-
holders into structurally similar groups. In this case study, this
information was used to ensure maximum representation from
across the stakeholder network, in a small working group.
Combined with information about stakeholder categories and
stakeholder centrality, it was possible to ensure that stakeholders
chosen for involvement in the project came from different stake-
holder categories, acted as brokers and held unique positions
within the network, e.g. positions that represented one of the
structurally similar groups.
Stakeholder analysis in this project provided a basis for
engaging a representative cross-section of stakeholders on issues
that were often highly contentious. Due to existing conflicts
between certain stakeholder groups, fair representation was
essential. The depth and breadth of representation was valued by
stakeholders using the research. For example, the civil servant co-
ordinating the Heather & Grass Burning Code consultation stated:
such individualled the
‘‘I have found the study very useful – in itself it’s an excellent
snapshot of opinion, with a less ‘formal’ response from the
Extendable stakeholder interest–influence table with example data for one stakeholder.
StakeholderInterest/StakeInfluence over land use Likely perception of project
and way to approach
Key relationships with other
Initial/Key contact names
Organisation X Highly interested in upland
conservation, water and
‘‘The key’’ – have a statutory
say in any management
decision on Sites of Special
Scientific Interest (SSSIs)
Likely to be positive – contact
via email with project
information in first instance
and arrange meeting with
Work closely with DEFRA and
organisations but sometimes
come into conflict with land
managers over management
Name 1 (Team leader); Name
2; Name 3; email addresses
M.S. Reed et al. / Journal of Environmental Management 90 (2009) 1933–19491945
individuals reported on, which gives it an open dimension that
is sometimes difficult to capture with a formal consultation
document, and also a depth of response which reveals a lot
about how people feel – which is one of the benefits of a social
science (almost ethnographic) approach, I would say. You get
a sense of lived experience that is very vivid.’’
The next step in this project will be to use knowledge mapping
to investigate the content of the information flows between
stakeholders and identify knowledge brokers who can play key
roles during and after the life of the project.
5. Synthesis and conclusions
These case studies have shown the wide range of participatory
and non-participatory methods that can be used for stakeholder
analysis. They have highlighted some of the challenges and limi-
tations of existing approaches and proposed some new tools and
combinations of methods that can more effectively identify and
categorise stakeholders and help understand their inter-relation-
ships. Although the rationale for using stakeholder analysis in each
case study was primarily instrumental, all the projects used
stakeholder analysis to represent the interests of diverse stake-
holder communities. As such, they each shared the normative goal
of legitimising the findings and decisions that arose from the
necessarily small sample sizes required for in-depth qualitative
All of the case studies identified and categorised stakeholders,
and a range of methods were used to identify stakeholders and the
focal phenomenon, around which the analysis was based. Catego-
risations ranged from quantitative approaches (RELU-Birds) and
card sorting (RELU-Sustainable Uplands), to more qualitative
methods based on interest–influence matrices (RELU-Floodplains).
Interest–influence matrices successfully and rapidly categorised
stakeholders in each of the case studies where this was used.
However, if these categories are to be used as a basis for future
sampling, further work may be required to ensure that a sample of
organisations or individuals from each category would represent
the overall stakeholder population. For example, to construct
a stratified snow-ball sample, RELU-Sustainable Uplands used
functional categories suggested by stakeholders, describing the
principle ways in which stakeholders related to the upland land-
scape. The RELU-Sustainable Uplands project used an extendable
table that considered the interest and influence of each stakeholder
more qualitatively, alongside information about stakeholder rela-
tionships and suggestions about how best to get each stakeholder
group involved (Table 4). Although interest–influence matrices
provide quantitative information about the relative interest and
influence of different stakeholders, this information is subjective,
contains many hidden assumptions that are not captured in the
process of positioning stakeholders on the matrix, and as such have
limited replicability. By capturing qualitative information about
why different stakeholders have a particular interest (and specifi-
cally what this interest is), and why certain stakeholders have more
influence than others (and in what contexts), the information
gathered is likely to be more useful and replicable. Such tables can
be extended with a variety of additional questions, and as such are
more flexible than interest–influence matrices, providing users
with the capacity to adapt the tool to case-specific needs.
The case studies took two contrasting approaches to study
stakeholder relationships. RELU-Deer Management took a qualita-
tive approach, using a target diagram to arrange organisations in
relation to their relative interests in deer management. Organisa-
tions in close proximity to each other shared similar interests, and
those closest to the centre of the diagram shared greater interest in
deer management than those at the periphery. In contrast,
Sustainable Uplands used a more quantitative approach, exploring
the nature of stakeholder interactions using Social Network Anal-
ysis (SNA). The qualitative approach used in RELU-Deer Manage-
ment provided sufficient evidence to categorise stakeholders, and
prioritise core stakeholders who principally affected or were
affected by deer, for initial involvement in the project. Although
considerably more time-consuming and costly, SNA enabled RELU-
Sustainable Uplands to accurately identify specific influential
individuals and marginalised groups for inclusion in small-group
work with the project.
The extent to which stakeholder analysis was conducted in
a participatory manner differed between the case studies. Partici-
patory approaches to stakeholder analysis can be costly in terms of
researcher and stakeholder time. However they have the capacity
to build trust and relationships, and uncover potential biases.
Stakeholder participation in the case studies met varying success.
For example, stakeholder-derived stakeholder categorisation in
RELU-Sustainable Uplands failed to adequately distinguish distinct
categories due to the wide range of perceptions about how each
stakeholder could be classified. However, a simpler participatory
approachyielded useful categories, and stakeholder involvement in
the analysis of social network data brought significant gains.
Specifically, the literature on natural resource management sug-
gested certain social network concepts that could be important for
identifying particularly influential stakeholders. This led to an
initial stakeholder selection that was based on analyses of
centrality, strong and weak ties. On the basis of feedback from
stakeholders who reviewed this selection, data was re-analysed
using an alternative approach (‘‘structural equivalence’’) to identify
how stakeholders could perform structurally similar functions
within their social network. In doing so, a different sub-group of
participants were selected who represented different ‘structurally
similar’ categories in the network.
Recommendations from this paper are summarised in Fig. 5
which simplifies and summarises three phases and six steps
through which a stakeholder analysis might typically proceed.
Stakeholder analyses need to start out by understanding the
context in which they are to be conducted (phase 1). Many stake-
holder analyses have a clearly defined focus from the outset, for
example when identifying who should be involved in a specific
policy or decision-making process. In such cases, the first phase
identified in Fig. 5 is not necessary. However, where not already
evident, it is essential to establish a clear focus with clear system
boundaries forthe stakeholderanalysis(steps 1 and 2). Only in such
a specific context is it possible to determine those who are affected
or can affect decisions relating to the issues under investigation
(phase 2, step 1). Yet, participatory approaches to stakeholder
analysis require the involvement of stakeholders in the identifica-
tion of foci and boundaries, necessitating an iterative approach (the
feedback between the first and second phase of the model in Fig. 5).
Where the investigating team already have a thorough knowledge
of the focal phenomenon, participation in the stakeholder analysis
may not be necessary. Indeed, there are many examples of non-
participatory approaches to stakeholder analysis in the literature
(e.g. Clarkson, 1995; Mitchell et al., 1997; Frooman, 1999).
There are numerous methods available for categorising stake-
holders (step 4) and understanding their inter-relationships (step
5) (Table 1). Choice of methods will depend on the purpose of the
stakeholder analysis, and the skills and resources of the investi-
gating team. Methods range from the highly technical that rely on
specialist computer software (e.g. Social Network Analysis) to
methods that can be used easily and rapidly with little technical
expertise or resources (e.g. interest–influence matrices and actor-
linkage matrices). Although the less technical methods often offer
M.S. Reed et al. / Journal of Environmental Management 90 (2009) 1933–1949 1946
less precision, this may be deemed acceptable given the purpose of
the analysis. The more technical methods are usually the domain of
researchers, whereas those using participatory methods for non-
research purposes rarely have time or resources to do anything
more than a very rudimentary stakeholder analysis, most
commonly using interest–influence matrices (Diana Pound, pers.
comm.). Finally, we take the normative stance that stakeholder
analysiscan lead tothe design of strategies and processes that more
effectively represent and involve stakeholders in environmental
decision-making processes (step 6). However, we recognise that
this is a simplification, and it is important to emphasise the feed-
backs between stakeholder analysis methods, as well as between
the analysis of stakeholders and their context. For example, the
Sustainable Uplands project used an investigation of stakeholder
relationships (using Social Network Analysis) to further differen-
tiate between and categorise groups fromwhich stakeholders were
Future stakeholder analysis research needs to investigate the
potential for combining existing methods to derive more useful
results. For example, results from Social Network Analysis may be
enriched by understanding more about the content of information
flows between stakeholders, enabling more sophisticated catego-
risation and providing information about who may be important
‘‘knowledge brokers’’ to prioritise for involvement in participatory
processes. In a world where many practitioners lack time to
consider using stakeholder analysis, there is also a need to develop
tools that can streamline stakeholder analysis methods, making
them more widely and easily accessible.
Those who are affected by the outcomes of an environmental
management decision are likely to have an interest, and hence hold
a stake, in what happens. However, to affect change, stakeholders
need both interest and the power to influence what happens.
Whether they have a direct interest or not, those who hold this
power must necessarily be considered stakeholders as well.
Stakeholder analysis asks who these interested parties are, who has
the power to influence what happens, how these parties interact,
and based on this information, how they might be able to work
more effectively together. The word ‘‘stakeholder’’ can be used as
a metaphor to illustrate this summary. Imagine a group of people
putting up a tent (the phenomenon of interest) on a hill-side, each
with a different kind of peg or stake (metal ones, different coloured
plastic ones, wooden ones, angled ones etc.). Each person is holding
a different stake (their interest), and trying to drive their points
home as they push their stakes into the ground. But stakeholders
who have mallets have the power to drive their points home more
effectively than others. Working alone, the tent might take on the
shape determined by the guy-ropes secured by the mallet-holders,
and is likely to collapse in the first wind. But knowing who they are
working with, the mallet-holders can work together to position
their stakes so the tent stays up. They may even be able to help
some of the other stakeholders who do not have mallets to secure
their stakes. By working together in this way, it is far more likely
that the tent will withstand the storm.
We would like to thank Prof. Tim Burt, Prof. Phillip Lowe, Dr
Jeremy Phillipson and four anonymous reviewers for constructive
feedback on earlier drafts of this manuscript.
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