Objective: Identify key stakeholders who have an interest in the outcome of a strategy | Analyse them according to levels of interest and influence | Provide the basis of planning and managing the participative planning process.

This process can be carried out in 2-4 hours as a participative process but needs to be well prepared, which takes more time.

To be used at the start of a strategic planning exercise to identify groups that should participate. Initially it can be carried out by a technical team then repeated with wider participation. It is very important to ensure that key stakeholders are identified and engaged early in the process.

Initially the planning team should be responsible, and then the wider participative planning group.

All key stakeholders

The tool aims to identify:

Who has an interest in the outcomes of potential activities in a planning process?

Which groups in particular have high levels of interest?

How this relates to their capacity to influence decisions?


The main steps are:

Step 1: Identify key stakeholders by consulting widely in order to find out those representing those directly interested. This will include local and central government departments, political representatives, organizations responsible for infrastructure, CBOs, NGOs, residents’ organizations and chamber of commerce. Note that stakeholders are defined related to the issues likely to be addressed and their location. Issues themselves will depend also on the stakeholders selected.

Step 2: A number of techniques can be used. Here we describe writing on cards, which can be faster and more participative. The team or larger group of stakeholders writes the names of organizations that they feel should be represented, one on each card. The cards are then arranged on a wall or pin board and grouped into the main categories listed above. Duplicates can be pinned on top of each other. The list is reviewed with the group to see if it includes all major stakeholders. Variations include ranking stakeholders into primary and secondary groups. The references given allow these options to be explored.

Step 3: Make a large version of the influence-interest matrix, below, and place stakeholders in the boxes of the table according to their level of interest, level of influence and capacity.

Step 4: Discuss the implications of the analysis in terms of how to make sure that key stakeholders can participate effectively.


Tables are used to help the analysis.

Influence – interest matrix:

Stake Low influence High influence
Low Stake Low priority stakeholder group Useful for decision and opinion formulation and brokering
High Stake Important stakeholder group possibly in need of empowerment Important and effective group. May need to be balanced with support to weaker groups

A variation which looks also at capacity, is the influence, interest and capacity analysis:

Who Influence Interest Capacity
Environment Authority 3 2 3
Provincial Council DMMC 2 2 1
Political Authority DMMC 2 3 2
Environment Officers 2 3 3
Private Sector
Hoteliers Association 2 3 2
Restaurant Owners 2 3 2
CDC 2 3 2
Popular Sector
Local Experts 1 2 1
NGO 2 3 3

Source: Adapted from UNCHS 2001


  1. It draws attention to the groups that have interest but also to those who have influence and capacity and highlights those that may need support if their voice is to be heard. This is important if marginalized groups are be empowered to fully participate.
  2. Identifies actions necessary to ensure wide participation.
  3. It is a simple tool which triggers good questions.
  4. Quick to carry out and can be used both within a technical team and in a wider participative group.


  1. The tool itself does not ensure that all relevant stakeholders are selected at the start.

This tool helps to give a strong foundation to the overall participative process.  Other tools include participative stakeholder mapping – UNCHS 2001 p 23

Generally accessible documents:

DFID (2003) Tools for Development : a handbook for those engaged in development activity, London, Performance and Effectiveness Department, Department for International Development.

UNCHS, 2001, Tools to support participatory urban decision making, (Urban Governance Toolkit Series), Nairobi, United Nations Centre for Human Settlements, pp. 22-24.

URBACT (2013) Urbact II local support group toolkit, Saint-Denis, URBACT

Academic documents (access may be limited):

Brugha, Ruairí and Varvasovszky, Zsuzsa (200) Stakeholder analysis : a review, Health Policy and Planning, vol. 15, no. 3, pp. 239-246.