A Critical Appraisal of the Stakeholder Analysis

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A critical appraisal of stakeholder analysis: Defining the stakeholder:

The development sector is awash with participatory methodology, in part as a result of and a continued commitment to the Paris Declaration, but equally as a means to lend credence and legitimacy to development activities and interventions. One such methodology is the stakeholder analysis which is, agreeably, rather a nice tool and very much in keeping with current development themes of local empowerment and participation. From big international institutions down to small grassroots organisations, it is all about the stakeholder and everyone is falling over themselves to be seen as involving them from programme conceptualisation to deployment and implementation through to completion and evaluation. So much so that Prell (2007) has said stakeholder analysis has ‘... gained attention and is now integral to development initiatives’* (p. 1)*.This essay aims to critically analyse stakeholder analysis by exploring how – as a tool for development – it has been deployed in the implementation of development interventions. It will delineate the process, highlighting its utility at the same time as paying attention to criticisms that have been levelled against it. Emphasis will be placed on the importance of the definition and or identification of the ‘stakeholder’ stage, which is central to the whole process and a key determinant of the overall outcome of the process. In particular, it will question the misplaced view of the stakeholder as static. The essay will then conclude by arguing that on balance, useful as the tool may be, as is characterised by its ubiquitous use, the ‘stakeholder’ still presents a grey area, one that has – as one example will show – led to the need by some practitioners to deploy it in conjunction with other tools. Crucially, and in the absence of a single viable alternative, more study is required if it is to continue to be widely used.

Process:
Stakeholder analysis broadly considers all individuals and organisations that are likely to be affected by a development intervention, as well as how they in turn may impact on the intervention or its activities (incite citation)[definition?]. It requires the user or implementer to inquire and develop a full understanding of; the perceived actions of and responses to the intervention, as well as the effect of the intervention on these individuals or organisations; at the same as collating their opinions. It is very much about these individuals and organisations – the ‘stakeholders’. This approach, much like many others used in development, can trace its origins back to political and policy sciences and in management theory (Brugha, 2000). But since then, it has grown and now spurns the development sector, with most of the leading actors not only deploying it but making it a major component of their tool kits. Organisations the likes of; the Department for International Development (DFID), the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and The Australia Agency for International Development (AusAID) have all adopted it – in one form or another - as a standard part of their operational manuals (cite and give example of user[s]). The implication here is that as a consequence of this, its use is not limited only to their programmes and projects but to their development partners’ as well. That is to say, country offices and fund recipients or partner grassroots NGOs of the listed organisations have all had to adopt the use of this approach, further expanding its sphere of use. A quick look at policies (give example and cite) will bear this out.

Adoption by big actors has happened concurrent to a general increase in participatory methods. Chambers... Because of its participatory nature...
In practice stakeholder analysis involves three main stages, or say three important elements. The first is the identification stages. Identification has been seen to be carried out...
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