Stakeholder Analysis

Stakeholder analysis is a technique for getting to know the people, groups and organizations that may influence the success of a project or may be affected by it. Key questions to be answered by stakeholder analysis are the following:

-            Who are the major stakeholders?

-            What are their resources?

-            What are their major concerns?

-            How do they see the project or issue at hand?

Stakeholder analyses can be conducted as part of a research project or by water managers themselves. The first step is always to make a preliminary list of stakeholders. This list can be made using general knowledge of the problem at stake, experience with similar projects, former project reports, conversations with project partners, etc.

The preliminary list can be complemented in different ways. One way is to ask the persons and organizations on the list to indentify the stakeholders that they know and characterize them in terms of four criteria:

-            Can they contribute to the project?

-            Are they needed for implementation?

-            Can they block the project

-            Are they affected by or do they have an interest in the issues at stake?

Another method is to invite the persons on the preliminary list for a first brainstorm meeting. In this way the stakeholders already get to know each other. This is especially important if later on they have to cooperate with each other.


Source: Ridder, D . , Mostert, E . , and Wolters, H .  A. (eds.) (2005), Learning Together To Manage Together; Improving Participation in Water Management (Osnabrueck: University of Osnabrueck, USF) , p. 11.


The resources that a stakeholder can bring to a project include time, money, specific skills, information, legal competencies, and informal influence. A number of methods can be used for assessing the resources of the different stakeholders. These include legal and institutional analysis and network analysis.

The resources of the different stakeholders determine what they can contribute to the project and whether they are needed for implementation. Whether they will cooperate or not depends on their concerns and motivation and their perception of the project. These may be assessed using methods such as interviews, questionnaires, Q-methodology, document analysis, participatory observation, etc.

Stakeholder analysis helps water managers and researchers to improve their project, make it more appealing to potential partners, secure the necessary contributions and generally increase its success.

Most importantly, we use stakeholder analysis in our own research projects. It plays a particularly big role in the following related projects.

For more information please contact Erik Mostert.

Related projects

  • i-Five
  • Melia