What is Stakeholder Analysis? Stakeholder Analysis (SA) is a methodology used to facilitate institutional and policy reform processes by accounting for and often incorporating the needs of those who have a ‘stake’ or an interest in the reforms under consideration. With information on stakeholders, their interests, and their capacity to oppose reform, reform advocates can choose how to best accommodate them, thus assuring policies adopted are politically realistic and sustainable. Although Stakeholder Analysis originated from the business sciences, it has evolved into a field that now incorporates economics, political science, game and decision theory, and environmental sciences. Current models of SA apply a variety of tools on both qualitative and quantitative data to understand stakeholders, their positions, influence with other groups, and their interest in a particular reform. In addition, it provides an idea of the impact of reform on political and social forces, illuminates the divergent viewpoints towards proposed reforms and the potential power struggles among groups and individuals, and helps identify potential strategies for negotiating with opposing stakeholders. Who Are Stakeholders? A stakeholder is any entity with a declared or conceivable interest or stake in a policy concern. The range of stakeholders relevant to consider for analysis varies according to the complexity of the reform area targeted and the type of reform proposed and, where the stakeholders are not organized, the incentive to include them. Stakeholders can be of any form, size and capacity. They can be individuals, organizations, or unorganized groups. In most cases, stakeholders fall into one or more of the following categories: international actors (e.g. donors), national or political actors (e.g. legislators, governors), public sector agencies (e.g. MDAs), interest groups (e.g. unions, medical associations), commercial/private for-profit, nonprofit organizations (NGOs, foundations), civil society members, and users/consumers. Major Attributes to Consider Four major attributes are important for Stakeholder Analysis: the stakeholders’ position on the reform issue, the level of influence (power) they hold, the level of interest they have in the specific reform, and the group/coalition to which they belong or can reasonably be associated with. These attributes are identified through various data collection methods, including interviews with country experts knowledgeable about stakeholders or with the actual stakeholders directly. The level of influence depends on the quantity and type of resources and power the stakeholder can marshal to promote its position on the reform. The level of interest or salience is the priority and importance the stakeholder attaches to the reform area. Broadly, these attributes signal the capability the stakeholder has to block or promote reform, join with others to form a coalition of support or opposition, and lead the
direction/discussion of the reform. SA therefore provides a detailed understanding of the political, economic, and social impact of reform on interested groups, the hierarchy of authority and power among different groups and the actual perceptions of the reform among different groups, all of which are important for reform advocates to consider. When to Conduct Stakeholder Analysis Timing is an important factor in the implementation of Stakeholder Analysis to assure the usefulness of the results for policy formulation. In most cases, SA should precede the finalizing of reform proposals. In early stages of policy formulation, SA can help gauge the likelihood of acceptance and sustainability of anticipated policy reforms. By initiating SA prior to the introduction of the reform and continuing to modify the policy proposal during the design process, potential obstacles to implementation and results can be avoided. When used at the right time and in conjunction with other tools such as qualitative...
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