Stakeholders are important to identify and to manage in order for our businesses and/or projects to have a high chance of success, but how can we ensure we use our limited resources – time and money – in an efficient way? This is where Mendelow’s Matrix can help make our lives easier and more focused.
Introducing Mendelow’s Matrix
Mendelow (1991) suggests we analyse our stakeholder groups based on Power (the ability to influence our organisation strategy or project resources) and Interest (how interested they are in the organisation or project succeeding). Remember, all stakeholders may seem to have lots of power or we hope they would have lots of interest, but relatively speaking, some stakeholders will hold more Power than others, and some stakeholders will have more Interest. For example, a director is likely to have high Power and high Interest in the organisation, whereas the Government would have high Power to impact strategy via regulation, but potentially less Interest – the same with a large competitor.
How To Use the Tool
Creating a Grid Map of Stakeholders
This is based on Power and Interest allows us to identify which stakeholders are incredibly important, with High Power and High Interest which we would need to manage closely, investing a lot of time and resource. For example, your boss is likely to have how Power to influence your work and also high interest in it being successful, or a technical external agency. Keeping these stakeholders on side and keeping them informed almost daily is a priority. However, those stakeholders with low power and low interest (e.g. the local community or media) should be monitored and minimum effort expended in terms of time and money. The other two quadrants highlight stakeholders that need to be kept satisfied (high Power, low Interest) and those that need to be kept informed (high Interest, low Power).
Creating an Action Plan
The position that you allocate to a stakeholder on the grid shows you the actions you need to take with them:
High power, highly interested people (Manage Closely): aim to fully engage these people, making the greatest efforts to satisfy them.
High power, less interested people (Keep Satisfied): put enough work in with these people to keep them satisfied, but not so much that they become bored with your message.
Low power, highly interested people (Keep Informed): adequately inform these people, and talk to them to ensure that no major issues are arising. These audiences can also help point out any areas that could be improved or have been overlooked.
Low power, less interested people (Monitor): don’t bore these stakeholder groups with excessive communication, keep an eye to check if their levels of interest or power change.
Mapping Your Stakeholders Early On
You might find it very useful to analyse all stakeholders that would impact your business strategy, marketing communications campaigns or new product launches at the start of your project. By creating a Mendelow’s Matrix you can easily identify your priority stakeholder audiences and therefore work out a plan to manage communications while keeping all groups satisfied. Equally, when planning a communications campaign, you can analyse stakeholder audiences to be targeted using this tool.
Moving Between Quadrants
It is important to remember that things might happen that cause stakeholders to suddenly move between quadrants. For example, your organisation might inadvertently contravene a regulation which would cause the regulatory body to move from High Power, Low Interest to High Power, High Interest. This would then require a different way of managing and communicating with this stakeholder. Equally, the media would also move from Low Power, Low interest, to Low Power, High Interest. So it’s always worth double-checking your grid maps in the event of a change in the environment or a project issue that arises.
This article was written by Fiona Eriksen-Coats, a tutor at the Oxford College of Marketing
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