What’s the stakeholder salience mannequin?

The stakeholder saliency mannequin was proposed by Mitchell, Agle and Wooden (1997). They outline salience as:

the diploma to which managers give precedence to competing stakeholder claims.

Their mannequin appears to be like at how vocal, seen and vital a stakeholder is, permitting you to create a typology of stakeholders to whom you must concentrate.

Challenge stakeholder administration and saliency

Challenge administration depends on individuals: you want the undertaking workforce to get issues finished, and that workforce would possibly embody members of various stakeholder teams. It’s widespread to have a core workforce of people that work day by day (or at the very least frequently) on the undertaking, after which a wider stakeholder neighborhood.

The saliency mannequin is a software you should utilize as a part of stakeholder evaluation, administration and engagement. It’s a means of categorizing stakeholders so you’ll be able to consider the easiest way to contain them within the undertaking.

There are three parts to think about, which collectively spotlight the saliency of a stakeholder: in different phrases, how a lot precedence you must give that stakeholder.

The three concerns are:


This can be a measure of how a lot of a ‘proper’ the stakeholder has to make requests of the undertaking.

Respectable stakeholders can have a declare over the best way the undertaking is carried out might be primarily based on a contract, authorized proper, ethical curiosity or another declare to authority.

The strategic administration layer in a company is more likely to have a say in how the undertaking proceeds, in addition to the important thing buyer or shopper.


This can be a measure of how a lot affect they’ve over actions and outcomes. Their energy may derive from hierarchical standing or status throughout the group, cash invested from a specific shareholder, possession of sources required to efficiently ship the end result, or related.

Bigger tasks are more likely to have greater numbers of individuals with energy concerned as a result of they have a tendency to draw better company governance and oversight – so the highest administration likes to know what’s going on.


This can be a measure of how a lot speedy consideration they demand and the way unacceptable a delay in response/motion is to the stakeholder.

The expectation of excessive urgency may result from some form of possession, earlier expertise the place pressing motion was taken that results in continued expectations of comparable response instances, a time-sensitive drawback that creates publicity for the stakeholder, or related.

For instance, how typically are they more likely to deliver you pressing points? Issues that may’t wait?

Collectively, an evaluation of those three parts can inform you how engaged a stakeholder is or can be within the work and the way they may affect the undertaking. That is helpful info for tailoring your engagement actions and figuring out with whom to take a position your time.

You is likely to be aware of the basic stakeholder evaluation affect and curiosity grid. Stakeholder saliency is just one other software for stakeholder classification. Personally, I discover affect and curiosity simpler, however the principle of stakeholder salience is price understanding to deepen your data about what motion to take and who to concentrate on.

How the size overlap

stakeholder saliency model

The image reveals how energy, legitimacy and urgency overlap to offer stakeholders roughly saliency.

Challenge managers love a very good Venn diagram!

Stakeholders that fall into areas the place they’ve two or three parts of saliency are those to be most conscious of and to spend essentially the most time with.

Mitchell, Agle and Wooden outline these salient stakeholders as follows.

Dominant stakeholders

This group has excessive energy and likewise excessive legitimacy to affect the undertaking. An instance could be the board of an organization. The mix of energy and legitimacy means they will act on their intentions, ought to they ever need to.

They won’t spend a lot time on the undertaking, however about it once they need to become involved.

Harmful stakeholders

This group has excessive energy and likewise expects their must be met with a excessive diploma of urgency. Nevertheless, they haven’t any authentic declare over the undertaking.

The researchers level out that undertaking stakeholders on this group, for instance strain teams, can use coercive energy and illegal techniques to attract consideration to their curiosity within the undertaking.

Dependent stakeholders

This group has legitimacy and urgency however lacks actual energy to affect the route of the undertaking. An instance could be the longer term course of proprietor who can be answerable for working the actions ensuing from the undertaking’s deliverables.

In the event you work in tasks for native governments, for instance, you would possibly discover that foyer teams, local people teams or native residents fall into this class.

They’ve a authentic declare to affect the undertaking as the end result goes to affect their setting. They need their views to be heard in a well timed vogue. However they don’t actually have any energy to affect the route of the work as a result of they aren’t employed by the contractors.

They’re ‘dependent’ as a result of they rely upon the facility of others to generate motion at the moment.

Definitive stakeholders

This group meets all the factors for saliency. They’ve excessive energy within the scenario, they’ve a authentic declare over the undertaking and so they have a declare to urgency.

Collectively this provides them an instantaneous mandate for precedence motion on the undertaking. Sometimes, this example happens when a dominant stakeholder needs one thing finished and good points urgency because of this.

Small tasks might solely have definitive stakeholders: maybe simply you and a supervisor.


Additionally they outline a bunch of people that don’t meet any of the factors, and are due to this fact not stakeholders.

I’d advise warning when utilizing this label, as a result of typically you merely haven’t recognized them as stakeholders but – they is likely to be sooner or later.

There’s additionally a danger connected to labeling everybody else as non-stakeholders. Maybe you merely haven’t recognized them but.

Different forms of stakeholders

The mannequin does discuss different teams – what occurs if somebody falls into the bracket the place they solely meet the critieria of urgency, for instance. If you wish to look them up, these are:

  • Dormant stakeholders
  • Expectant stakeholders
  • Latent stakeholders.

My private view is that in a enterprise context, given how little time now we have to have interaction all of the stakeholders, it’s higher to give attention to the people and teams who tick two or extra packing containers.  The fact of managing tasks is that you just don’t have the time to undergo a session course of and do the evaluation for everybody.

Your selection, although.

Find out how to use the salience mannequin

So what are the sensible implications for the mannequin of stakeholder salience?

Understanding stakeholder saliency is beneficial as a result of it helps you determine methods to spend your restricted sources. You could have restricted time, and you’ll benefit from that by making use of completely different ranges of stakeholder engagement to completely different individuals.

Stakeholder relationships are time-consuming, so it’s price investing your vitality the place it’s going to have the best impact.

Look by your evaluation and determine the people and teams who’re going to profit most out of your time. Prioritize the definitive stakeholders as they tick all of the packing containers.

Then take a look at the opposite teams. There is likely to be vital stakeholders hidden away in different classes. Don’t let the mannequin change into a substitute for widespread sense.

Nevertheless, bear in mind, stakeholders can transfer between the classes because the undertaking and the scenario evolve.

Energy, urgency and legitimacy might be misplaced and gained slowly over time, or in a second. Maintain your evaluation beneath assessment and swap up your actions accordingly, making a stakeholder administration technique that totally engages your neighborhood to the perfect of your means.

That is an edited extract from Participating Stakeholders on Tasks: Find out how to harness individuals energy by Elizabeth Harrin (APM, 2020).

Stakeholder Theory: Concepts and Strategies (Elements in Organization Theory) Reprint Edition Stakeholder Theory: Concepts and Strategies (Elements in Organization Theory) (9781108439282): Freeman, R. Edward, Harrison, Jeffrey S., Zyglidopoulos, Stelios: Books


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