Should Stakeholders’ Restrict Themselves to Professional Organisations or Interfere with Members’ Personal Lives?

“We are the Stakeholders!” Have you heard your project or key stakeholders repeat this to you often? While the project stakeholders have “the influence and authority to dictate whether a project is a success or not” they do not have the right to influence our personal choices or decisions. It is significant for employees of all organisations and all those involved with the institutions to have a thorough understanding of the definition of the term ‘Stakeholder’. Business dictionaries define a stakeholder as “A person, group or organisation that has interest or concern in an organisation.” If we are to go by this definition, then they are there to run an organisation efficiently and to achieve a specific goal or goals. This would automatically mean that their role is restricted to the workplace or companies or organisations only and they cannot and should not interfere with the private/personal lives of individuals representing the organisations. Since I belong to the education industry, I have often wondered about the roles and responsibilities of stakeholders within schools or education offices etc. Until I stumbled on this video, I’ve got to admit, my comprehension of this term was quite muddled.

What Is a Stakeholder in Education? – Definition & Examples – Video & Lesson Transcript |

My interest in the topic inspired me to launch an investigation, which enlightened me about the four categories of stakeholders;  these being users, governance, influencers, and providers. Stakeholders play a significant part in the profit or loss of the project work and hence should discover the errors at the earliest possible as failure do so would make these a project killer. A successful project achieves the objectives and meets or exceeds the expectations of stakeholders making the latter happy. In a school, the list given below gives us an idea of the automatic, key or project stakeholders. Therefore, it becomes crucial to identify the stakeholders correctly.

Harvard Business Review emphasises on asking oneself five significant questions to identify key stakeholders and provides us the required answers for the former.

1. Does the stakeholder have a fundamental impact on your organization’s performance? (Required response: yes.)

2. Can you clearly identify what you want from the stakeholder? (Required response: yes.)

3. Is the relationship dynamic — that is, do you want it to grow? (Required response: yes.)

4. Can you exist without or easily replace the stakeholder? (Required response: no.)

5. Has the stakeholder already been identified through another relationship? (Required response: no.)

Even with the changing roles of external stakeholders from imaginary friends to effective non-interfering friends, they can only act as allies representing the interests of the society at large and not interfere strongly in the private lives of institutions or members of the institutions. It would be beneficial for stakeholders of any organisation to enrol in short stakeholder management courses offered by a few reputed universities or institutions. Food for thought!

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