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How should I decide whether to include a stakeholder in my analysis?

For the sake of efficiency, you want to have as few stakeholders as are necessary to your analysis. Here are some general guidelines that can help you capture all of the key stakeholders needed for your analysis without going overboard generating data. First, you should be sure to include all stakeholders who are essential to a deal or decision. One way to reduce the number of stakeholders is to combine into a group all stakeholders who will likely have all the same needs or interests (an example might be individual board members and shareholders, who could be combined into one stakeholder group called “the company”). After essential stakeholders, you should consider including in your analysis any other stakeholders who will be involved in or affected by the decision or outcome of the negotiation. If a stakeholder can affect the outcome of a negotiation or the implementation of a decision, then you should consider including that stakeholder’s needs in your analysis. As a general rule, once you get beyond 5 or 6 stakeholders, you should consider carefully whether additional stakeholders are necessary. If you find later in the analysis that you need to add a stakeholder, you can always do so.