Internal Stakeholders are groups or individuals who work within an organisation or project.
Stakeholders are any groups or individuals who can affect or are affected by an organisation, strategy or project. They can be internal or external and they can be at senior or junior levels. That said internal stakeholders are particularly important as Gary Heerkens points out:
One thing that makes internal stakeholders particularly important is that the perceived success of your project [business/strategy/department] is often judged by the perceived satisfaction of internal stakeholders. (Heerkens, 2013)
Finding and engaging with your internal stakeholders is also crucial to making things happen. Rivenburgh (2013) points out that no company can implement the most impelling strategy without the involvement of its employees. Engaging with internal stakeholders is essential because:
"Highly engaged employees always go beyond mere compliance with organizational expectations. They strive to exceed expectations." (Rivenburgh, 2013).
Because internal stakeholders do the work and their satisfaction is often given greatest importance in judging the success of a strategy or project, stakeholder managers need to make sure that they identify all internal stakeholders. The obvious first step is to look within the immediate team, department and line of business then cast the net wider looking at all of the people or groups that you connect with during your project.
Prompts for identifying internal stakeholders
According to Nilson (2006: p170), internal stakeholders are those in the
management, marketing experts, designers, purchasing, manufacturing, assembly and
sales, while external stakeholders are the users/customers, distributors, governments, suppliers, communities, laws and regulations. (Karim, et al., 2007, pp.8)
We suggest starting to search for internal stakeholders by following the steps below.
*Example shown below.
- Check your company org chart, look at levels above, below and on the same level as you and your project team.
- Run through the project phases* list out people and teams involved in each phase
- View your company on LinkedIn looking at your colleagues and their connections
A good cross check that you have identified all internal stakeholders is to run through the phases of your project and think about who will affect or be affected within each project phase. An example for a web and SaaS project is shown below.
Project team line managers
Project Office/Support functions
Tech support functions e.g. networking, security, facilities
Subject Matter Experts
Product management (bugs)
Following the steps above will ensure that you identify the most important stakeholders. You can then check your list against these lists drawn up for different types or organisations and projects:
Internal Stakeholders - references and further reading
Nilson P & Fagerstrom B (2006). Managing Stakeholder Requirements in a Product Modelling
System, Computers in Industry, 57:167;177
Saipol Bari Abd Karim, Hamzah Abdul Rahman, Mohamed Ali Berawi, Aini Jaapar (2007). A review of the issues and strategies of stakeholder management in the construction industry
, Management in Construction and Researchers Association (MICRA), Meetings and Conference, 28_29 Aug 2007, Shah Alam, Selangor, Malaysia. Available at: http://www.academia.edu/172847/Issues_and_Strategies_in_Stakeholder_Management
[Accessed 04 February 2015].
Stakeholder Management Resources
Stakeholder analysis templates in Word, Visio and Excel.
Stakeholder Management ebook
Happy Stakeholders - Pleasure and Displeasure List
Stakeholders - who are the Key Players? - Some Stakeholders are really important. How do you find them and get them on your side before they can do any damage?
Project stakeholders - typical stakeholders on a project
Stakeholder mindmap - a mindmap showing stakeholders for an IT project.
Stakeholder Salience - an overview of the stakeholder salience model.