"Think in terms of creating value for all of our stakeholders simultaneously. All stakeholders are interdependent and connected together "
In Public Relations, we often read about terms such as “publics”, “stakeholders” or “audiences” that are used interchangeably. However they have different meanings, that once we comprehend them we will be able to adjust the appropriate communication strategies to key audiences. According to Freeman a stakeholder is “any group or individual who is affected by or can affect the achievement of an organization’s objectives.” More specifically it can be groups of people that affect or are affected by the organization’s policies, decisions and actions. At this point I am sure that you still cannot find the difference between stakeholder and publics. So let’s take a look on what the great PR scholars say about the definition of “publics” in PR. As Grunig mentions , publics is an active group of people that responds to the acts of the organization. Therefore is not fixed and it requires ongoing research.
So how do we identify stakeholders? A good way is to evaluate their ability to influence the organization, their power to interfere and of course their interest. So let’s take a look to the power-interest matrix that gives information on how stakeholders can affect the decision-making procedure of an organization.
As we can see in the diagram stakeholders in category A don’t have the interest or the power to interfere. Stakeholders in category B have high interest but they cannot influence the decisions of an organization. Category C is often consisted of investors or legislative bodies that can have massive influence in an organization. So it is really important that they are kept informed despite their low interest in corporate affairs. Last but not least, category D which is the most important as these stakeholders have both high interest and power in an organization.
Whichever method we use in order to identify the stakeholders we have to bear in mind that prioritizing their interests and expectations is the main tool for an integrated communications strategy for a company or an organization that will lead to the goodwill between the two parties.