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How to calculate the value of stakeholders

01 Jun, 2020 Reputation, trust, stakeholder relations

This article was originally published in 2015 and has been completely updated in 2020.

In a previous article, “Stakeholder relations management is a key skill,” a matrix was developed to show how you can calculate a numerical value or rating for each stakeholder in order to prioritize multiple stakeholders. The number simply was the aggregate of numbers calculated by the rating of a stakeholder against several criteria or attribute, as in the matrix below.

Stakeholder Criteria

Desirable stakeholder attribute Numerical importance
of attribute
Stakeholder position
Access to decision makers 10 X
Access to the media 8 X
Access to key information 8 X
Influence on other stakeholders 6 X
Sufficiently motivated to be active 5 X
1 2 3 4 5
Numerical importance of stakeholder on each attribute
Negligible Slight Moderate Considerable Great

We can make the prioritizing of stakeholders more sophisticated when we allocate a numerical weighting to the criteria themselves. For instance, if “Access to key decision makers” is considered the most important attribute in stakeholders, that category could be allocated a numerical weighting, say 10.

If “Access to the media” is considered important, but quite as important, it could be allocated a numerical weighting to reflect that, say 8.

The third attribute, “Access to key information,” might be considered to be the same importance as factor two, and therefore would be given a numerical weighting of 8.

The fourth attribute, “Able to influence other stakeholders,” might be given a weighting of 6, and the fifth attribute a weighting of 5.

Then for each stakeholder, you simply multiply the attribute importance by the stakeholder rating on that attribute to reach a number. For instance, “Access to decision makers” is given 10 for its importance, and the stakeholder in this example is given a rating of 4. Multiplying 10 by 4 gives a total of 40 for that stakeholder on that attribute. A different stakeholder might only have a rating of 2 or 3 on that attribute and therefore the resultant figure would be considerably less than the first stakeholder, ie 20 or 30 points in total.

You can work through all the important attributes and can add up all the totals to reach an aggregate for each key individual stakeholder or group.

Stakeholders can then simply be prioritized by their scores.

Action plans

The amount of time you should allocate to stakeholder relations management depends on the importance, size, difficulty and timing of your projects.

When you decide to embark on stakeholder relations management you can draw up an action plan table showing each stakeholder and several factors that can be considered.

For instance, for each stakeholder in the table you can outline:

  • their importance and relevance to you
  • their current attitude towards the issue, matter, or your organization
  • the desired attitude you are seeking from them
  • what you can offer them in return
  • any active role and actions they can take
  • the messages you intend to communicate to them
  • intended timing of messages.

It is important to consider carefully what you can offer them in return, because the stakeholder needs to gain something from the relationship or they may be reluctant to act as you wish them to do.

Then you can initiate a tailored program of communication for every significant stakeholder. The result is likely to be much more efficient and beneficial for your organization and your stakeholders than if you don’t do it.

About the author Kim Harrison

Kim Harrison loves sharing actionable ideas and information about professional communication and business management. He has wide experience as a corporate affairs manager, consultant, author, lecturer, and CEO of a non-profit organization. Kim is a Fellow and former national board member of the Public Relations Institute of Australia, and he ran his State’s professional development program for 7 years, helping many practitioners to strengthen their communication skills. People from 115 countries benefit from the practical knowledge shared in his monthly newsletter and in the eBooks available from cuttingedgepr.com.

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