Students:Stakeholder mapping workshop

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Mind maps or concept maps are graphical tools used to organize knowledge - they visualise (structure of) some information. They outline some mental or real categories (such as words, ideas, tasks, or physical entities) and relations between them (either some central category exists - in mind map, or multiple relations between the categories have to be described in a diagram - concept map). We should use this tool for stakeholder mapping.

Stakeholder mapping is a method that helps to visualize stakeholders, relations between theam and to the issue at stake: in our case = Sustainable development of the region. The analysis of stakeholder map helps to formulate some initial observations abour influence on the change objective of the reform intervention. It is possible to derive conclusions about alliance, sources of conflict and power relations. You will also see who has especially strong power with regard to the issue, and who is playing the role of 'veto players' (achieving support of this player is inevitable for success).

The stakeholder map is also a first step in the research - it reveals 'white spots' in our knowledge about stakeholders to be filled in in further exploration. It may correct preliminary assumptions about stakeholders (received from the e-learning in our case) and - when finalized - would serve as a graphical tool for presentation of the results for lay public (adapted from [1]).

In our case, we are concerned with Sustainable development of the region (in relation to brown coal mining) issue (area of analysis), in the point of time of our Summer School (September 2012). We are aware that the relations and the issue itself are perceived from different perspectives - by different actors - and we would work with this assumption (see below).

Role play activity

Students should form "interest groups" -> play roles of different actors. Through stakeholder mapping, sustainable development vision should be explored from the stakeholder perspective, and figure out potential collaborators (actors supporting their goals) and those who undermine interests of the particular stakeholder (the actor you play role).

Groupwork: stakeholder mapping (first steps)

Goal: to explore relations of the student’s group (= one of the actors) to strategic development visions of the region (central issue).

  1. role-play your actor: imagine your situation in the regional context
  2. use the input received from interviews with real actors
  3. define your (sustainable) development vision: basic conditions, opportunities & potential projects
  4. express yourself and other actors graphically - in the context of your SD vision
  5. express relations between these actors (simple graphical expression for diverse relations)

Delivered: map of actors by individual groups (role played actors) & graphical actor analysis & graphical interaction analysis

Collaborative work: stakeholder maps by different “actors” combined

Use stakeholder maps of actors done by groups as an input for production of a joint map:

  1. start with simple map of actors (without expression of their importance etc.)
  2. distinguish different SD visions in the centre (place these visions in between environmental - economic - social pillar of SD)
  3. combine actors into 1 map and negotiaste their relative importance in the context of the shared SD vision
  4. include all relations and negotiate their "meaning" with other "interest groups"
  5. distinguish relations supportive or conflicting with different SD strategic visions – express graphically within the relations of actors (distinguish by different colours)

Delivered: joint map of actors

Graphical actor analysis

Analyse stakeholder map with regard to actors: distinguish graphically strength of the actors, resources they have and influence...

  • Basic graphic elements
    • The circles represent the primary and key stakeholders who have a direct influence on the project; the size of the circle stands for the degree of influence this stakeholder has in relation to the issue and the change objective. The letter V means that this is a veto player. The squares represent secondary stakeholders who are not directly involved but still (potentially) have an influence[1].

Graphical interaction analysis

Analyse stakeholder map with regard to interactions: distinguish graphically relations between actors.

    • Intensity of interactions:
      • on the scale strong dependence – no need to interact.
    • Levels of interactions:
      • Use Graz model.
    • Orientation and sign (+, -) of interactions
      • Who supports (+) or harms (-) whom expressed as orientation of --->
  • Basic graphic elements
    • Solid lines symbolise close relationships in terms of information exchange, frequency of contact, compatibility of interests, coordination, mutual trust, etc. Dotted lines symbolise weak or informal relationships. The question mark is added if the relationship is unclear. Tramlines symbolise alliances and cooperation that are organised contractually or institutionally. Arrows symbolise the direction of relationships of dominance. Solid lines crossed by a bolt of lightning symbolise tensions, clashes of interest and conflict-laden relationships. Short lines crossing a solid line symbolise relationships that have broken down either temporarily or irreparably[1].

Graphical analysis of conflicts

  • Colour
    • Different colours where perceived differently by stakeholders (conflict)


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Zimmermann, A., Maennling, C. (2007). Mainstreaming participation, Multi-stakeholder management: tools for stakeholder analysis, 10 building blocks for designing participatory systems of cooperation. From the series: Promoting participatory development in German development cooperation. Deutsche Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ) GmbH. Available from: