Stakeholders are persons or groups that affect or are affected by an organization. They fulfill many roles within organizations. What is the most significant role stakeholders play in an organization? Why? How do stakeholders acting in this role influence the organization 's mission, vision, and strategy?
The answer to this question depends to a large degree who the stakeholder is and whether it is a market or nonmarket stakeholder (Lawrence & Weber, 2011). However, in general, it seems that power and influence go hand-in-hand in terms of the most significant role(s) a stakeholder may potentially play in an organization. These two dynamics form the basis for the level of interest a stakeholder has when seeking to affect the organization. Based on the power, influence, and interest of a stakeholder, Boutelle (2004) went so far as to state that, “Projects will succeed or fail primarily based on the actions of people who care enough to defend or oppose them” (para. 19). This statement centers on this theme of power, influence, and interest.
Thus, if there is enough generated interest in organizational issues which can exert a strong fervor of power and influence amongst diverse stakeholders, the organizational leaders will take notice and respond accordingly. This is known as the salience of a stakeholder and is a critical component of how they are viewed and defined by an organization (Mitchell, Agle, & Wood).
A stakeholder who is able to effectively parlay their power and influence can have a profound impact in how that particular organization conducts business on many levels which, in turn, may create some rethinking and reposturing of the mission, vision, and strategy of an organization. It is certainly in the best interest of the organization to build strong relationships with their many stakeholders so as to add value to their overall brand and image (Lawrence & Weber, 2011).
Boutelle, J. (2004).
References: Boutelle, J. (2004). Understanding stakeholders for design success. Boxes and Arrows. Retrieved from http://boxesandarrows.com/understanding-organizational-stakeholders-for-design-success/ Lawrence, A. T., & Weber, J. (2011). Business and society: Stakeholders, ethics, public policy (13th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill/Irwin. Mitchell, R. K., Agle, B. R., & Wood, D. J. (1997). Toward a theory of stakeholder identification and salience: Defining the principle of who and what really counts. Academy of Management Review, 22(4), 853-886.