Stakeholder matrix

Plan who should participate when and their level of engagement at each stage.

In integrated research projects, stakeholders often need to be involved in different ways and at different times. A stakeholder matrix is a simple method to plan and clarify stakeholder involvement throughout a project.

This technique helps project teams understand:

  • Which stakeholders to involve
  • The stages of research when they will be involved
  • The level of engagement of each stakeholder group at each stage

The method is best developed in two stages:

  1. a group workshop of at least an hour, and
  2. a follow up discussion with the identified stakeholders.

The following steps are a guide to developing the matrix in a group workshop. The workshop should include both project group members and other people knowledgeable about the issues (e.g. policy makers, farmers, other colleagues).

Ask the workshop participants to establish who your key stakeholders are.

Record the key stakeholders on Post-it notes. Each stakeholder will be a column heading in the matrix.

Next ask the workshop to identify the key research project phases.

Record each phase on a Post-it note and make them the matrix's row heading.

Discuss how the stakeholders will participate in each stage of the project.

Use dots or stars to record levels of participation during each phase. One dot represents non-participation; five dots signifies maximum participation.

Work through all combinations of stakeholder and research phase.

Document the completed matrix and discuss it with each stakeholder group to clarify and agree on expectations. Revise as necessary.

Stakeholder engagement matrices can also be created retroactively to understand why a project turned out the way it did.

In this example matrix, the research team did almost everything and the partner organisations had little to no influence.

More information

This is adapted from the i2S integration and implementation insights blog. by Michelle Banfield, based on her work in the health care industry.

Banfield, M., Yen, L. and Newby, L. (2011). Stakeholder involvement in primary health care research: Report and recommendations. Australian Primary Health Care Research Institute: Canberra, Australia. Online (PDF 612KB)

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