Stakeholder identification and analysis of their expectations


Stakeholder Perspective and Effective Relationship Management

A series of stakeholder-centered short guidance articles for increasing delivered value and the success rate of projects



By Massimo Pirozzi

Rome, Italy



In the previous article of this series, we evidenced that, since each project is made by people to be delivered to other people, stakeholders are central with respect to all projects. Indeed, stakeholders, including the project manager and the project team, are the doers of the project, as well as other stakeholders, including customers/users, and shareholders/ investors/funders, who would like to beneficiate of project results, are the target groups of the project itself. Definitively, stakeholders contribute to project definition, implementation, and success, starting from strategies and arriving to generate benefits through their actual delivered value. On the other side, stakeholders are, at the same time, the greatest generators both of the value to be delivered, and of the complexity to be faced and solved, and this makes difficult to identify them, and to analyze their requirements and their expectations, which are basic processes to proceed towards both the planning and the development of the project.

Indeed, project stakeholder domain is characterized by a multilevel complexity:

  • stakeholders are persons, or groups of persons, and we can assume that persons are the most complex systems that exist in the world;
  • stakeholders are diverse, and they are diverse from different perspectives: project stakeholders, in fact, may have diverse interests and/or influence, may participate to and/or support diversely the project, they may add diverse value (either positive, or null, or negative), they may belong to diverse organizations and/or communities,  and, since each organization is generally characterized also by a common business and/or social language, they may even speak or understand different organizational languages;
  • stakeholders are numerous, and stakeholder relations are even more numerous: if we consider stakeholders individually, in each project it could be very easy to distinguish hundreds of relations, or thousands if we include the people from the web;
  • stakeholder relations are context sensitive: indeed, both internal and external environment, just like business, social or technological strategies, as well as economic, time, regulatory, legal, or social requirements and/or constraints, impact continuously on stakeholder relations;
  • stakeholder relations may influence each other, and this can happen continuously: then, taking care of both the relation with stakeholders and the relations among stakeholders becomes essential;
  • all stakeholder relations, due to their centrality, are important, and, at least, they have to be monitored;
  • stakeholder relations may be evolutive in the life cycle of the project: new stakeholders may come in, existing stakeholders may come out, each stakeholder may change level of importance and/or behavior, and this may happen several times.

Therefore, relations with, and among, stakeholders, introduce multilevel complexity in all projects: classification models of stakeholders are mandatory to reduce that huge complexity, and, then, to make stakeholder relations issues addressable and manageable. We can consider two main types of classification models for stakeholders, which are based on two diverse perspectives: multiple classification models, which consider the belonging of stakeholders to different subjective categories, and the classification of stakeholders in communities, which reflects the stakeholder objective behavior.

Most commonly used multiple classification models are the grids, and especially the power/influence grid, but there are also others, as the stakeholder cube, and as the salience model. The basic concept of the grids is categorizing stakeholders based on two of their main attributes, and then representing the results on a two-dimensional matrix: the most common grid is the power/interest grid (Mendelow, 1991), which categorizes stakeholders according to their level of authority in the project, and their level of interest towards the project results, but also the power/influence grid and the influence/impact grid are present in the literature. Although power/influence grid has been developed almost thirty years ago, and although it was thought to be applied generically to organizations, rather than specifically to projects, it still has all its validity: in fact, with some customization, it is a tool quite simple to use, but immediately shareable, and enough powerful to support stakeholder identification, especially by categorizing them based on their importance for, and in, the project. In addition, complexity may be somehow reduced by grouping the management of relations in four typologies: monitor, keep informed, keep satisfied, and manage closely.


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Editor’s note: This series of articles is by Massimo Pirozzi are based on the Author’s Book “The Stakeholder Perspective: Relationship Management to Increase Value and Success Rates of Projects”, CRC Press, Taylor and Francis Group, Boca Raton (FL), U.S.A., October 2019.

How to cite this paper: Pirozzi, M. (2020). Stakeholder Perspective and Effective Relationship Management: a series of stakeholder-centered short guidance articles for increasing delivered value and success rate of projects, Stakeholder identification and analysis of their expectations, PM World Journal, Vol. IX, Issue VIII, August. Available online at https://pmworldlibrary.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/pmwj96-Aug2020-Pirozzi-stakeholder-perspective-series3-stakeholder-identification-and-analysis.pdf



About the Author

Massimo Pirozzi

Rome, Italy



 Massimo Pirozzi, MSc cum laude, Electronic Engineering, University of Rome “La Sapienza”, Principal Consultant, Project Manager, and Educator. He is a Member and the Secretary of the Executive Board, a Member of the Scientific Committee, and an Accredited Master Teacher, of the Istituto Italiano di Project Management (Italian Institute of Project Management). He is certified as a Professional Project Manager, as an Information Security Management Systems Lead Auditor, and as an International Mediator. He is a Researcher, a Lecturer, and an Author about Stakeholder Management, Relationship Management, and Complex Projects Management, and his papers have been published in U.S.A., in Italy, and in Russia; in particular, he is the Author of the Book “The Stakeholder Perspective: Relationship Management to enhance Project value and Success”, CRC Press, Taylor & Francis Group, October 2019.  He has a wide experience in managing large and complex projects in national and international contexts, and in managing relations with public and private organizations, including multinational companies, small and medium-sized enterprises, research institutes, and non-profit organizations. He worked successfully in several sectors, including Defense, Security, Health, Education, Cultural Heritage, Transport, Gaming, Services to Citizens, Consulting, and Web. He was also, for many years, a Top Manager in ICT Industry, and an Adjunct Professor in Organizational Psychology. He is registered as an Expert both of the European Commission, and of Italian Public Administrations.

Massimo Pirozzi serves as an International Correspondent in Italy for the PM World Journal. He received two 2019 PM World Journal Editor’s Choice Awards for his featured paper “Stakeholders, Who Are They?”, and for his report from Italy titled “PM Expo® and PM Maturity Model ISIPM-Prado®”. He received also the 2018 PM World Journal Editor’s Choice Award for his featured paper “The Stakeholder Management Perspective to Increase the Success Rate of Complex Projects”.

Massimo can be contacted at max.pirozzi@gmail.com

To view other works by Massimo Pirozzi, visit his author showcase in the PM World Library at https://pmworldlibrary.net/authors/massimo-pirozzi/