Stakeholder and Social Network Analysis

From apppm
Jump to: navigation, search



The ideas of stakeholder and social network analysis are linked in the domains of organizational management and social sciences. The act of identifying and assessing the people, organizations, or groups that have an interest or stake in a specific project, solution, or decision is known as stakeholder analysis. This enables companies to interact with various stakeholders and understand their needs, objectives, and impacts.

Contrarily, social network analysis is the study of the connections and interactions among people, groups, or organizations inside a network. This means identifying the relationships between people, figuring out which the major influences are, and recognizing the information, power, and influence flow within a network.

On the other hand, organizations can gain a thorough understanding of their stakeholders and the connections among them by combining stakeholder and social network analysis. Making informed decisions, better communication, and creating efficient stakeholder engagement strategies are all possible with the use of this information. Organizations can be able to target better their engagement activities and increase the likelihood of success, for instance, by identifying important influences within a stakeholder network.

In conclusion, by these two concepts, industries will have the opportunity to recognize and improve the relationships between their stakeholders. In addition, stakeholder and social network analysis are valuable tools for businesses to identify their stakeholders’ needs and improve their relationships. By establishing effective communications and building strong bonds between them, organizations will achieve an efficient environment between them in order to develop effective methods and strategies.


Stakeholder analysis and social network analysis are two effective methods for figuring out how people or groups relate to one another inside a company or project. Stakeholder analysis helps to identify the people or organizations with a stake in an organization or a project. Customers, staff members, suppliers, shareholders, members of the community, and others who are impacted by the organization's activities or decisions can all be considered stakeholders. [1] On the other hand, social network analysis is a tool used to comprehend the connections and relationships between people or groups within a network. Organizations can better understand how to interact and communicate with various groups, spot possible conflicts or problems, and create plans to handle them by examining the social network of stakeholders.

Basic Stakeholder Analysis

The goal of basic stakeholder analysis is to determine how each actor's influence affects the project's outcome. This is done through a desk review, a participatory internal meeting or workshop. In essence, it seeks to address the questions of who the actor is and how they could affect a project's outcome. [1]

Steps of Basic Stakeholder Analysis:


1. Define the Outcome Question

It's very important to make the question clear and more in detail when formulating the outcome question of the stakeholder analysis. This will help in focusing on the stakeholder analysis and ensure that it offers accurate information for the endeavor or corporation.

2. Preparatory Desk Review

The gathering of information about the project's or organization's stakeholders may be useful. Users can get this information from a variety of sources, such as reports, news articles, or stakeholder profiles.


3. List and categorize the actors

Having a varied range of stakeholders represented is crucial. This can comprise both internal and external stakeholders, such as community organizations, customers, and employees or management. Groups of stakeholders may share common interests or concerns after categorizing them.

4. Quantify the level and type of influence of each actor

Since influence can take many different forms, it can be difficult to quantify the degree and kind of effect that each player has. Decision-making authority, access to resources or knowledge, and social influence are some typical forms of influence. Creating a scoring system or other approach for figuring out how much influence each stakeholder has can be helpful.

5. Analysis to action

Stakeholder analysis information is used to inform decision-making and action planning in the fifth step, "Analysis to Action." This may entail formulating plans for involving stakeholders, attending to their issues or interests, or reducing hazards.

In the literature on organizational studies and management, a variety of stakeholder management methodologies have been proposed for both the identification and study of stakeholders. The traditional model, which Freeman (1984) first presented, uses an organization-centric approach and demonstrates how the company must manage interactions between primary and secondary stakeholders in the value creation process, as shown in Fig. 1. [2]

Value creation for stakeholders.png

Fig 1. Value creation for Stakeholders[2]

Social Network Analysis

Social network analysis (SNA) is the process of mapping these relationships and analyzing the structure of the network and the influence of different actors. [3]

Stakeholder management benefits from the application of social network thinking because it helps companies better comprehend the links and interactions among stakeholders and pinpoint the network's most important influencers and decision-makers. Organizations may better understand how information is shared, who contacts whom, and who has the most sway over others by mapping out social networks. The idea of centrality is a fundamental factor in social network thinking in stakeholder management. The degree of a person's or group's connections to other people inside a network is referred to as their centrality. People or groups with high centrality may be more able to influence others, whereas those with low centrality may be more isolated or have less impact.[2]

Organizations can identify important stakeholders and measure their centrality within a network with the use of social network thinking. They can create focused strategies for stakeholder engagement and communication by identifying who is most influential and most connected. For instance, if a major stakeholder is highly centralized within a network, the organization may place a higher priority on developing a solid rapport with that person or entity to maximize their influence. The concept of network analysis is a crucial component of social network thinking in stakeholder management. Using tools and methodologies, network analysis maps out social networks and examines their dynamics.[2] Organizations can learn more about the connections between stakeholders, the information flow, as well as any communication barriers through performing a network analysis.

Combining SNA and stakeholder management

Prioritizing a stakeholder's impact on the outcomes of a specific organization or activity based on the possession of characteristics is one of the conventional approaches to stakeholder analysis (such as power, legitimacy, urgency, knowledge, interest and so on). SNA offers an alternative method for determining a stakeholder's level of influence based on centrality measurements and position within a network. Both strategies delivered extremely comparable results. [4]

However, a few of scholars disagree with treating the two methods independently, believing that SNA should be integrated with stakeholder management to enhance its outcomes rather than yielding brand-new, comparable outcomes.

Analysis to Action

As mentioned above stakeholder analysis data is utilized to inform decision-making and action planning as "Analysis to Action." This could mean creating strategies for involving stakeholders, taking care of their concerns or interests, or lowering risks. [1]

Strategies of stakeholders analysis:

Effectiveness: By ensuring that interventions are culturally relevant and take into consideration the particular needs and conditions of the communities being served, the integration of local knowledge, networks, and skills into industry initiatives can increase their efficacy. Greater community involvement, trust, and buy-in may result from this, which may ultimately improve the collaboration's results.

Size and Reach: Industry is able to reach a wider audience and have a more significant impact by forming alliances with regional businesses and communities. Local partners frequently have established networks and connections inside the community, which can make it simpler to win community approval and reach demographics that are difficult to achieve. Additionally, this can support the development of long-lasting partnerships and sustainable solutions beyond the confines of the collaboration.

Best Use of Resources: By combining the skills and resources of several organizations, partnerships can be a practical method to get the most value for your money. Collaborations can have a bigger effect with fewer resources if they pool their efforts and minimize redundancy. Partnerships can also aid in enhancing organizational capacity in local communities, which can result in more long-lasting and locally-driven solutions.

Responsiveness: By incorporating local viewpoints and skills into the planning and implementation of interventions, partnerships can be more responsive to the needs and goals of the communities they serve. This can aid in ensuring that interventions are acceptable from a cultural standpoint and take into account the particular requirements and conditions of the communities being served. By utilizing the knowledge and resources of other organizations, partnerships can also be more adaptable to new requirements and altering conditions.

Operational Feasibility: The viability of partnering as opposed to offering services directly will be influenced by a number of variables, such as the resources that are available, the capabilities of local partners, and the overall strategic objectives of the partnership. In some circumstances, the partnership could be the most practical choice, especially if IRC lacks the operational capability to offer services directly or if there are financial constraints. However, in other circumstances, offering services directly could be more practical or wiser, especially if there are no acceptable local partners or if IRC already has contacts or operational capabilities in the region.

Stakeholder analysis can guide the design of specific projects as well as help with decisions regarding the organization's overall program strategy. There is no one method that works for everyone for transitioning from mapping analysis to action planning. Participants might prefer to concentrate their network map analysis on risks and opportunities, though.[1]


1. Friends in high places

2. Support

3. Building networks within the network

4. Critical relationship building


1. Spoilers

2. Quiet Saboteurs

3. Dysfunctional/ Conflicting relationships

Through social network analysis, additional risks were noticed including:

Dependency: The network may be very dependent on a single actor or funding source, which can lead to bottlenecks and sustainability issues. To lessen reliance on a single actor, take into account a partnership method that encourages relationship-building and cooperation amongst actors.

Conflicting or dysfunctional relationships: The network may be hampered by a few important broken relationships. Conflict over resources or control can also be brought about by new actors or initiatives. Such circumstances can be handled by using a Do No Harm strategy that emphasizes the similarities rather than the differences between the actors.

Marginalization: Because of their gender, ethnicity, status, wealth, or other characteristics, certain individuals or groups of people may be excluded from or marginalized within the network. Plan assessments and interventions thoroughly to include disadvantaged populations.

Disincentives for change: Some actors may be motivated negatively to reject the change that is being suggested. Create engagement techniques to influence their viewpoint.

In a risk analysis, you rank the risks based on impact and likelihood of occurrence. In a similar manner, we can assess stakeholders based on their impact (authority) and interest on the project. The proper actions are already visible in the fields of the matrix below. The matrix may additionally have 5 x 5 fields where you can list the names of your stakeholders. This enables you to rapidly determine the significance of the stakeholders and assign them the proper action.[1]


Fig 2.Stakeholder matrix (influence/interest)


Stakeholder analysis and social network analysis are two significant techniques that organizations can use better to understand their stakeholders and the dynamics of their environment. With stakeholder analysis, requirements, expectations, interests, and influence over a situation are discovered and evaluated. This study helps businesses better understand how their actions and decisions affect their stakeholders and helps them identify potential issues or opportunities that may arise. Finding stakeholders, assessing their requirements, expectations, and interests, and determining the level of influence they have over the project or organization are all parts of stakeholder analysis. On the other side, social network analysis is a technique for studying and mapping interpersonal connections and interactions. It aids organizations in having a better understanding of how information is distributed and how power is used within a team or company. Through social network analysis, it is possible to pinpoint important people or organizations that serve as middlemen, spread ideas or information, or may exert disproportionate influence over decision-making. Organizations can better manage communication and cooperation, as well as spot chances for partnerships or collaboration, by knowing the relationships between stakeholders. Overall, organizations can gain a deeper understanding of their stakeholders and the dynamics of their environment by combining stakeholder and social network analysis. By utilizing these techniques, firms may more effectively manage their stakeholder relationships, foresee opportunities or obstacles, and modify their strategy as necessary. These assessments should be evaluated frequently to stay current with shifting dynamics because they are not a one-time event. Stakeholder and social network analysis are useful techniques that organizations may utilize to accomplish their goals and objectives while upholding their stakeholders’ relationships more effectively.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 "Stakeholder and Social Network Analysis," [Online]. Available:
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Chung, K. K., & Crawford, L. (2016). The Role of Social Networks Theory and Methodology for Project Stakeholder Management. Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences, 372-380.
  3. I. R. Committee, "Rescue," International Rescue Committee, July 2016. [Online]. Available:
  4. S. Zedan , "Using social network analysis to identify stakeholsers' influence on energy efficiency of housing," Engineering Business Management , pp. 1-11, 2017.
Personal tools