To help you identify you stakeholders, we have identified three general categories of stakeholders in a research degree. Use these categories to identify and map out the stakeholders for your project.
- Investors – people who held you establish the foundation of your work. These stakeholders are with you throughout your research degree and have an investment – emotional, professional or financial – in your project. Common investor stakeholders include: your supervisors, the University and your funders. Your family and friends can also be included here, as your support network but also as people emotionally invested in you and your project.
- Participants – people who take part in the data collection or research project itself. They are actively involved in the project, but not at the same foundational level that investors are. Their role is normally transient in nature, engaging for a specific period of time. Stakeholders could be participants in the research project (interviewees, for example), volunteers you work with, and any other collaborators who participate in your research.
- Receivers – these are stakeholders that could benefit from the completion and dissemination of knowledge from your research. Obviously this covers a wide range of people, including your investors and participants, but it’s good to focus on a couple of stakeholders you are doing the research for. This could include the wider academic community, but also the groups or communities your work is about.
Activity – Understanding their expectations
Alongside knowing who your stakeholders are, it is important to know what they expect from you and your project. Consider the stakeholders you have identified and complete the stakeholder analysis template. In doing so, consider:
- What professional, financial, or emotional interest do they have in the outcome of your work?
- What motivates them most of all?
- To what extent does needing to be aware of and respond to their interests and motivations affect your work and how?
- What do they want or need from you?
- How often do they want you to update or communicate with them, and in what format?
- What level of influence do they have over your project? How involved are they in making decisions within the project?
- Where might there be a conflict of interest or tensions between different stakeholders? How might you manage or mitigate this?
Activity – Assessing their influence
After you have completed your stakeholder analysis, you might find it useful to complete a power/interest grid. This will help you identify each stakeholder’s the level of interest in your project, and how to manage their expectations and involvement in the project.
- Interest – the extent to which each stakeholder cares about the aims, objectives and decisions made as part of the project
- Power – the extent to which each stakeholder can influence the project
Power vs Interest = Stakeholder Influence
Create your own power and interest grid to identify the influence of each of your stakeholders on your project, and how to manage their expectations and involvement in the project.