Engaging Stakeholders in Framing and Solving Problems

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Engaging Stakeholders in Framing and Solving Problems
Gina Chowa, PhD, MSW & Rainier Masa, PhD, MSW
Global Social Development Innovations, UNC School of Social Work

Standing Rock Residents protest Keystone pipelines
For months, Standing Rock Sioux members and allies protested in North Dakota. They stood in the path of the pipeline during peaceful demonstrations……….. But in December, protesters celebrated after the Army said it would not -- for the time being -- allow the pipeline to cross under Lake Oahe. The Army said the plan should be carefully restudied and alternative routes should be deeply considered.

Organizations can no longer chose not to engage stakeholders, the only decision is when and how to engage stakeholders!
• If you ignore stakeholders à crisis management: antagonistic and damaging of trust
• If you choose to relate to stakeholders to manage riskà stakeholder management: means to mitigate risk
• If you choose to explore new opportunities in collaboration with stakeholder à stakeholder engagement: change happens!

Different Types of Interactions with Stakeholders

Crisis Management
• Reactive • Vulnerable • Episodic • Hostile

Stakeholder Management
• Proactive • Anticipate • Regular • Defensive

Stakeholder Engagement
• Interactive • Encourage • Inclusive • Change

What is Stakeholder Engagement?
• Definition of Stakeholder: anyone that can affect or is affected by what you are trying to achieve; the people that count! Can be internal or external; positive or negative; individuals or groups
• Engagement: All the things that you do with Stakeholders: consult, listen, understand, communicate, negotiate, compromise, influence
• The goal of stakeholder engagement? To satisfy the needs, gain approval and support, or minimize opposition or obstruction

Stakeholder Engagement should be Managed like any other Business Function!
• Adequate planning & preparation • Analysis • Implementation • Reporting • Evaluation

Typical Stakeholder Engagement Cycle

Identify Stakeholders

Create and Analyze
Stakeholder Profiles (Why
& What?)

Manage Effectiveness

Engage Stakeholders

Plan Engagement

Stakeholder Engagement for Social Change

• Consultation with Primary Stakeholders & Partners (Formative

• Consensus on approach,
intervention, including other stakeholders (implementation planning and buy-in)

Why, who, how, when

Inclusion and collaboration

• Reporting, disseminating lessons
learnt, continuity?(Passing
the stick)

Stake ownership
by all

Maintaining relevance of

• Performance Matrix, learning priorities, (rapid testing,
feedback and coursecorrection)

Principles of Engagement

Strategic Principles
• Consult early and often • Relationship is key: Be authentic
• Prioritize issues of significance for stakeholder
• Understand concerns, views, needs and expectations
• Respond coherently and appropriately
• Keep your integrity

Operational Principles
• Communicate • Be transparent • Take responsibility • Be inclusive • Collaborate • Be empathetic • Risk management • Understand what is success • Compromise

Act, review and report • Ensure learning • Review the
engagement • Assure stakeholders

Engagement Model

Responding & measuring
Preparing & engaging
Thinking & planning

Identify key stakeholder and issues • Mapping Stakeholders • Identify Issues
• Set objectives • Prioritize

Strengthen Capacities • Strengthen ability to
respond to an issue • Skills development
of stakeholders

Design Process & Engage • Identify most
effective process • Design process

Assess & Align Plans • Assess vision of team • Review progress • Identify more partners

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Engaging Stakeholders in Framing and Solving Problems