What Is a Stakeholder Map?

by Cynthia Gomez; Updated September 26, 2017

Companies of all kinds have various groups of stakeholders, which must be kept happy. Understanding who all of your stakeholders are, their level of interest in your company and how much effort you need to put in to keep each type of stakeholder satisfied can get complicated. A stakeholder map can make the task easier.

Definition

A stakeholder map is a business tool that allows you to see a visual representation of your company’s various stakeholders (individual and groups), their level of interest in the company and their importance to the company. It usually looks like a chart. Different stakeholders or groups of stakeholders are categorized and listed on a chart according to their level of interest and the power they exert over a company.

Purpose

Stakeholders have power over your company. Some of those are people who own share in the company. Other stakeholders are the customers who buy the products or services the company offers. Yet other stakeholders could be the area residents employed by the company. Some of these hold more power and influence over the company than others, and some of these have more personal concern over the company’s actions than others. A stakeholder map helps you determine who has the most potential to impact the company.

Creating a Map

While the more stakeholders or stakeholder groups a company has, the more complicated a stakeholder map will be, a simple one can help you give you a general idea of how to create maps, as well as of those stakeholders you need to be aware of. Make a chart with four cells, two on the top row and two on the bottom row. The horizontal line going through it represents should be labeled “power.” Those below the line hold power over the company, whereas those above do not. Above the chart, write “level of interest” and just below that, above each of the two rows, write “low” and “high.” To the left of the chart, above “power,” write “low” and then “high” below it. That still leaves you with four empty cells. In row 1 cell 1, write “minimal effort.” In row 1 cell 2, write “keep informed.” In row 2 cell 1, write “keep satisfied” and in row 2 cell 2, write “key players.”

Using the Map

Now that you’ve got your blank map, all that's missing is your actual stakeholder or stakeholder groups. Think about the four key groups of stakeholders your company has. Label each individual or group a letter A-D. Your “A” stakeholder should be those requiring minimal effort and go on row 1, cell 1. In row 1, cell 2, place your “B” stakeholders, or those that should be kept informed of the company’s actions. In row 2, cell 1, place your “C” stakeholders, or those who must be kept satisfied. In the last cell, place your key players. When you look at your map, you should now clearly see your main stakeholders, and what each group means for you.

About the Author

Cynthia Gomez has been writing and editing professionally for more than a decade. She is currently an editor at a major publishing company, where she works on various trade journals. Gomez also spent many years working as a newspaper reporter. She holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from Northeastern University.