The NHS Institute for Innovation and Improvement website is now being administered by NHS Improving Quality - the Productive Series and other products are still being provided by Delivery Partners and supported by NHSIQ, and all material relating to the Productive Series is still accessible.

The NHS Institute closed on 31 March 2013. If an item you are looking for is not available here, you'll be able to see all publicly available content on The National Archives website:*/
This site uses cookies to help performance and allow us to improve your browsing experience. You can click here to view the cookies we use on this website along with information on how to restrict cookies using your browser settings. By clicking on the Continue button, you accept the terms of our privacy policy on our website.

| | |

Stakeholder Analysis

Back to previous page

Stakeholder Analysis (General)

What is it and how can it help me?

Stakeholder analysis is one of the first steps you should take in any change project. It enables you to identify everyone with a concern or interest who needs to be involved. Once you have come up with the full list, you then need to categorise it: from people with the greatest involvement, through to more peripheral individuals or groups. The more important the stakeholder is to the success of the project, the more time and resources you need to devote to maintaining their involvement and commitment.


When does it work best?

To improve service delivery processes you will need to actively engage a wide variety of people such as clinicians, administrative staff, patients and user groups. Thorough analysis and proper planning will facilitate this engagement. It also helps you  to avoid conflict and associated delays caused by inadvertently failing to involve key people.

How to use it

1. Identifying your stakeholders
Identifying stakeholders requires a good deal of research. One effective way you can achieve this is by assembling a group of subject matter experts, especially those with good networks. The experts then brainstorm a list of all the people and groups likely to be affected by the proposed change. The list is recorded onto a flipchart, or typed onto a laptop, for the group to see. 

2. Prioritising your stakeholders
Once the list of names has been generated, you should then analyse the list in terms of power, influence and the extent to which they are affected by the project or change.  Each name is inserted into a four sector table (see below).

A useful acronym for ensuring that you have included all likely stakeholders in the health service is the ‘9 Cs' listed below:

  • Commissioners: those that pay the organisation to do things
  • Customers: those that acquire and use the organisation's products
  • Collaborators: those with whom the organisation works to develop and deliver products
  • Contributors: those from whom the organisation acquires content for products
  • Channels: those who provide the organisation with a route to a market or customer
  • Commentators: those whose opinions of the organisation are heard by customers and others
  • Consumers: those who are served by our customers: ie patients, families, users
  • Champions: those who believe in and will actively promote the project
  • Competitors: those working in the same area who offer similar or alternative services 
Four sector table 

High power



Opinion formers. Keep them satisfied with what is happening and review your analysis of their position regularly.





Key stakeholders who should be fully engaged through full communication and consultation.

Low power



This group may be ignored if time and resources are stretched.



Patients often fall into this category. It may be helpful to take steps to increase their influence by organising them into groups or taking active consultative work.



Low impact/stake holding

High impact/stake holding

Larger projects, with very many stakeholders may use a nine sector table to provide greater definition of the stakeholders:

Nine sector table 

High power




Moderate power








Little or no power









Little or no impact

Moderate impact

High impact

Having identified the stakeholders, prepare a readiness for change matrix to see who is for, or against the proposals. This will also help you define any influencing activities that might be needed.Stakeholder 1.jpg









3. Understanding your key stakeholders
You now need to know more about your key stakeholders: how are they likely to feel about and react to your project? You also need to know how best to engage and communicate with them.

Key questions to help you understand your stakeholders

  • What financial or emotional interest do they have in the outcome of your work? Is it positive or negative?
  • What motivates them most of all?
  • What information do they want from you?
  • How do they want to receive information from you? What is the best way of communicating your message to them?
  • What is their current opinion of your work? Is it based on accurate information?
  • Who influences their opinions generally, and who influences their opinion of you? Do some of these influencers therefore become important stakeholders in their own right?
  • If they are not likely to be positive, what will win them around to support your project?
  • If you don't think you will be able to win them around, how will you manage their opposition?
  • Who else might be influenced by their opinions? Do these people become stakeholders in their own right? 

Often the best way to answer these questions is to talk to your stakeholders directly. People are usually quite open about their views - asking their opinions can be the first step in building a successful relationship with them.

4. Managing your stakeholders
The analysis is useless if it does not lead to action. The project team should devise actions to win round doubters, and sustain and enthuse supporters.

A second model for analysing stakeholders is to examine their degree of synergy against their level of antagonism (see diagram). People with low synergy and moderate antagonism are your opponents; those with high synergy and low antagonism are your unthinking supporters. Advice on dealing with each group can be found in the document at SKILL Working with stakeholders.

Fig 1 Synergy / antagonists analysis

Stakeholder 2.jpg

















An example in use
As part of a change project to improve systems for clinical coding, it is proposed to implement source coding by consultants. The project manager asks the work group to identify everyone who may be involved or affected by such a change. The list is a long one, so the team assess their relative power and influence within the system and produce the following analysis.

High power


Chief executive

Finance director

BMA rep




Consultant medical staff

Clinical coding manager

Finance creditor staff

Medical director

Primary Care Trust

Clinical governance lead


Low power


Medical records staff

Medical secretaries




Clinical coding staff

Clinical audit

Junior doctors

IT systems manager





Low impact/stake holding

High impact/stake holding

Using the analysis, they then design membership for the project board (see project management) and a communications plan to keep people informed and involved. This was followed by a PDSA cycle pilot to try out various aspects of the suggested change in practice.

What next?

Once you have identified and categorised the stakeholders, you can use the listings to devise a communications plan setting out what information needs to be given to which people, and how. You should also prepare a briefing note for project team members to ensure that everyone is aware of the methods to be used. The team leading the project needs to allocate responsibility and put relevant monitoring arrangements in place.

© Copyright NHS Institute for Innovation and Improvement 2008