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Stakeholders are a group or an individual that has interest or concern in a business organization and holds the potential to affect or be affected by the business’s activities, policies, regulations and achievements. The most distinctive Stakeholders of any organization are the Investors/Owners, managers, employees, suppliers, customers and the community. Maintaining a healthy relationship with the stakeholders holds the key to a good business because they are either financially or otherwise committed to the organization and can be influenced by the operation and productivity of the business.

Stakeholders can either be direct or representational. When a group or individual’s interest in the company or organization have its origins from direct employment, investment or ownership, they have a direct stake in the company’s performance, and are thus ‘Direct Stakeholders’. The entities that fall under this category are employees, board members, managers, donors and investors. On the other hand, there are groups or individuals that can be affected by the company’s resolutions and developments but their stake is more representational than direct as they are external to the company. Customers, suppliers, creditors, NGOs, government agencies etc are the secondary set of stakeholders.

Identifying and studying the stakeholders play an important role in a company’s success. In order to make a balanced, unbiased and effective decision that doesn’t disappoint or favor any specific stakeholder; most companies conduct ‘stakeholder analysis’.  It is a process by which the demands and influence of stakeholders are weighed and calculated to find out which group will affect or be affected by the decision, in a ranking order. For a business to thrive, the company has to build effective stakeholder relationship and not view them as remote and isolated entities.

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