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Add to cart. Edward Freeman , Paperback. Therefore, in this paper, we present a framework to address this gap and outline a stakeholder identification process that can be applied across public health research, policy and community engagement projects. By discussing the applicability of our framework in the growing practice of concept mapping, we hope to further demonstrate the utility of our work. This definition reflects the business management context in which the term originated. Friedman and Miles identify fifty-five definitions of stakeholder spanning forty years and seventy-five texts; for a more comprehensive comparison of the term, their work should be referenced [ 18 ].

This figure is an acknowledged oversimplification, as each stakeholder category can be further broken down into more specific groups, however, this visual map is a useful tool for identifying stakeholders [ 18 ]. The other contribution is a broader stakeholder analysis process, of which stakeholder identification is only the first step [ 18 ]. Subsequent components of stakeholder analysis focus on understanding the interests and stance of various stakeholder groups, and on devising a business management strategy in response.

Stakeholder analysis theories offer interesting techniques for prioritizing stakeholders and understanding relationships, but they do not provide practical guidance on how to identify stakeholders. Some additional insight on the practice of stakeholder identification is gleaned from the discussion of stakeholder management issues within Stakeholders: Theory and Practice [ 18 ].

Notably, the challenge of constructing stakeholder maps is acknowledged, particularly in light of the heterogeneity of interests within stakeholder groups, and the possibility of a single stakeholder belonging to multiple categories [ 18 ]. The use of stakeholder analysis has broadened considerably beyond its original application in business management [ 10 ].

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Environmental resource management, in particular, has embraced this study design, as demonstrated by Reed et al. The authors build on the theoretical contributions of business management literature, and notably categorize methods employed to identify stakeholders, differentiate between stakeholders, and investigate relationships between stakeholders in practice [ 20 ].

Three specific methods of identifying stakeholders are listed, mainly; focus groups, semi-structured interviews, and snowball sampling. These techniques are likely familiar to health researchers, however their application in the explicit context of stakeholder identification is perhaps more novel. In focus groups, a small number of participants brainstorm lists of stakeholders.

This method is notably less structured than others, and may be supplemented with interviews of a cross-section of stakeholders [ 20 ]. Semi-structured interviews with selected stakeholders are akin to consulting key informants, which is recommended for the analysis of stakeholders by Varvasovsky and Brugha [ 21 ]. The snowball sampling technique consists of individuals from initial stakeholder categories identifying new stakeholders and contacts.

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Possible bias towards the social networks of the first stakeholders should be noted [ 20 ], however snowball sampling is nonetheless commonly employed in health management stakeholder analysis [ 10 ]. Although these techniques broadly capture methods of identifying some stakeholder group, they do not provide a systematic method for identification in practice. A systematic process for determining which perspectives or stakeholders are relevant is not described in health research methodology. In part this is due to the diversity of contexts and the need to tailor approaches to specific projects.

However it also reflects an observation made by Reed et al. In practice it seems intuition and familiarity with a given topic tend to guide identification of stakeholder categories; whether for specific health research projects or broader stakeholder analysis. A more documented, systematic methodology for stakeholder identification stands to benefit public health research and concept mapping projects by increasing transparency in participant selection and minimizing researcher bias towards familiar groups.

Frameworks of stakeholder categories may serve as a starting point for systematic identification of stakeholders, however such frameworks are not commonly cited in the literature. To inform the development of our framework we conducted a strategic, focused literature search with particular attention to categories of health stakeholders employed in concept mapping research, so as to inform a separate project conducted by the authors of this paper [ 11 ].

The texts Stakeholders: Theory and Practice [ 18 ] and Concept Mapping for Planning and Evaluation [ 7 ] served as comprehensive, resources on stakeholder theory and concept mapping methodology. In order to focus our search on health, we limited our search to the health database of Ovid Medline years — present. We then reviewed retrieved articles for relevance to older adult mobility and the built environment in search of applicable stakeholder frameworks. To address this gap in the literature and facilitate stakeholder identification, we present a detailed description of the steps employed in this project in addition to the final framework.

Broadly speaking, our stakeholder framework was created through an iterative process of revising stakeholder categories to encompass individual stakeholders deemed important by literature and experienced informants. The framework is presented as a visual representation and classification of groups and individuals related to the intersection of older adult mobility with the built and social environments. Varvasovszky and Brugha recommend a mixed team of internal and external analysts to conduct stakehodler analysis [ 21 ]. Our initial chart was thus created by one author CS who had little a priori knowledge of the relation between older adult mobility and the built and social environment, to increase objectivity and benefit from an external, theory driven identification of stakeholders.

The scope and methods of analysis were derived in consultation with all authors experienced in this area , and the final stakeholder framework reflects collective expertise. To enhance the project with practice-based insight, four expert informants reviewed and provided feedback on an initial draft of the stakeholder framework. All worked across disciplines but had primary training or worked professionally in the fields of health or social services.

Expert informants were asked to review the stakeholder framework and provide open-ended feedback on the organization of stakeholder groups and identification of missing stakeholders.


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  • We collected comments via email in accordance with a consent protocol approved by the Simon Fraser University Department of Research Ethics File s The final stakeholder framework incorporated recommendations from the expert informants. The iterative process was articulated as the following series of three main steps:. Detailed chart of stakeholders, expanding framework of stakeholder categories related to the intersection of older adult mobility with built and social environments. Based on an iterative search of the literature, no frameworks of stakeholder categories specific to older adult mobility, the built environment, or social environments were identified.

    Three classifications of health stakeholders were found [ 22 - 24 ]. The most concise and explicit articulations of health stakeholders for concept mapping was listed by Trochim and Kane [ 23 ]. Although not presented as a formal framework for stakeholder categorization, Trochim and Kane identified relevant health stakeholders including the public, health professionals, health administrators, policy makers and politicians, and the research community. A second concept mapping project on chronic disease prevention in Canada used the broad categories of researchers, practitioners, and policy specialists to classify health stakeholders [ 22 ].

    In a third example of stakeholder analysis in health research, a comprehensive list of stakeholders is presented by Future Health Systems: Innovations for Equity [ 24 ]. Within the context of health systems research in developing countries, the authors recommend systematic consideration of the following eleven stakeholder categories; beneficiaries, central government agencies, ministry of health, local governments, financiers, civil society organizations, health governing boards, provider organizations, professional organizations and health workers, unions, and suppliers [ 24 ].

    The categories of health stakeholders identified by Trochim and Kane [ 23 ] were adapted in this project as they encompassed most other categories while maintaining an element of simplicity. These categories included the public, health professionals, health administrators, policy makers and politicians, and the research community. As our stakeholder framework evolved, new categories of stakeholders were added and some were renamed.

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    We first discerned relevant research disciplines to initiate the identification of specific groups of stakeholders within each category. This step was greatly informed by an evidence review published by co-authors [ 12 ]. For the purpose of stakeholder identification, a list of relevant research disciplines was generated based on the academic affiliations of authors of the papers in the review and the types of journals in which they were published. Subsequently, stakeholder groups related to these disciplines within other categories were added to the framework.

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    For example, community planners were identified as important members of the research community based on the critical literature review. In many instances the networks could be considered relevant stakeholders in and of themselves, and were added to the framework. However the collective interest of such groups may differ from the individual member organizations, thus these smaller stakeholder groups were also individually added.

    At times, stakeholders identified through this process did not readily fit within the broader categories, leading to revisions of the stakeholder categories and reorganization of the framework. Feedback from four expert informants was collected to ensure that the stakeholder framework reflected the realities of practice and included important stakeholder groups that may have been missed in our search of the literature. Expert informants collectively represented policy makers, researchers, practitioners and service providers. All invited informants participated and suggested improvements on a draft of the stakeholder framework.

    Overall, informants expressed agreement with the stakeholder categories and organizational structure of the framework. Each informant identified some specific stakeholder groups and organizations to be added, and re-categorization of a few specific organizations was suggested. These additional stakeholders were incorporated into the final framework, and informed development of sub-categories. The practice-based insight of expert informants also helped identify some specific government departments, collaborative networks, and additional grey literature on related older adult programs [ 26 ].

    These include: 1 Public, 2 Policy makers and governments, 3 Research community, 4 Practitioners and professionals, 5 Health and social service providers, 6 Civil society organizations, and 7 Private business.


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    • Although specific organizations are not named in this publication, the iterative process of identifying specific organizations and determining which broader categories of stakeholders they belonged to was critical to the creation process of the framework. Development of new categories spurred the identification of specific groups, just as the identification of specific groups informed the development of new categories. We present a framework of stakeholder categories and applied it to the intersection of older adult mobility with the built and social environments.

      The result was a comprehensive, framework of stakeholder categories that can be used to understand older adult mobility. Furthermore, the novel process of stakeholder identification can be applied across health disciplines in other concept mapping projects to understand various matters of public health concern.

      For example, one area of research to which our framework may be readily adapted is the growing study of environmental and policy approaches for promoting physical activity [ 16 , 17 ]. The details of the process of stakeholder identification are of particular value to the literature. The aim of systematic identification of stakeholders is to ensure comprehensive representation of diverse perspectives on an issue.