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Scientific & Technical Writing Research Guide (ENG 355:302 )/Writing for Business and Professions (ENG 355:303)

Stakeholders are groups or individuals who can affect and/or be affected by your proposed project. The more a stakeholder stands to benefit or lose by an effort, the stronger their interest is likely to be.

Stakeholder analysis helps you understand the wide range of people and groups who may be involved in your project area, both directly and indirectly, and their dynamic relationships to the issues at hand.

Stakeholders can fall into several categories based on


Rights-holders have inherent human or land rights in an issue

Direct (Primary) Stakeholders are immediately involved or impacted positively or negatively

  • Population – a racial or ethnic group, a socio-economic group, age group, etc.
  • Geographic area – a neighborhood, a town, a rural area
  • Experiencing or at risk for a problem or condition – unhoused, lack of skills, unemployment, diabetes
  • Affiliation with an organization or institution – students at a school, youth involved in the justice system, welfare recipients.
  • People whose behavior the effort aims to change – delinquent youth, smokers, people who engage in unsafe sex, people who don’t exercise.

Indirect (Secondary) Stakeholders are involved with or responsible for beneficiaries of the effort; whose jobs or lives might be affected by the process or results of the effort:

  • Family members, significant others, friends
  • Schools and their employees – teachers, counselors, aides, etc.
  • Health and human service organizations and their line staff
  • Community volunteers in various capacities
  • Police, landlords, employers, community members whose lives, jobs, or routines might be affected by an effort or policy change

Key Stakeholders are in a position of power or influence or can influence others; those with an interest in the outcome of an effort:

  • Government officials and policy makers, media, clergy members, doctors, business leaders, community leaders
  • Business community, advocates, community activists, academic researchers, funders and potential funders


Harmed By are those who are negatively affected by the issue.

  • Likely want change

Benefited From are those who gain in some way from the issue.

  • Tend to resist change

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