Stakeholders for Organizational Change

I used my first edition of Roving Coffee (in Stockholm, Sweden) to get feedback on my latest concept for stakeholders of organizational change.

Some weeks ago I described the first version, which emerged from the discussions at the Stoos Gathering in Switzerland. Since then people have suggested a number of changes and additions. Broadly speaking, the suggestions came in two forms.

Relationships to the Organization

My latest version lists no less than 25 groups of stakeholders, ranging from boards to unions, from customers to governments, and from coaches to families. All of these were suggested by readers and members of the Stoos network.

We can regard these groups as people with different kinds of relationships to the organization. They are all impacted by organizational transformation, and therefore they have a stake in changes of management thinking.

Mindsets of the People

Other people suggested that I should distinguish stakeholders along the lines of those “who get it” and those “who don’t”. Some said I should separate “leaders” from “followers”. And some said we should not forget the change agents themselves.

Adoption curve

This made me realize that the innovation adoption curve might be a perfect model to address these concerns. It gives us another dimension for categorizing stakeholders, and it is a well accepted model for organizational change. It describes people with different mindsets and their interest in change.

The Stakeholder Grid

When I use both categorizations, the result is a stakeholder grid. Vertically, it lists stakeholders according to their relationships to the organization. Horizontally, it distinguishes people with different mindsets. I think this grid could be useful as a common language for change agents.

1 CEO's, top management            
2 Boards, board members            
3 Shareholders, business owners            
4 Market analysts, investors            
5 Pension funds            
6 Startups, entrepreneurs X X X      
7 Middle management X X X      
8 Support, HR, Legal, Operations            
9 Employees, knowledge workers X X X      
10 Unions, employee representatives            
11 Spouses, families            
12 Customers, end users            
13 Suppliers, business partners            
14 Accounting firms, accountants            
15 Management institutes & networks            
16 Professional associations, certifiers            
17 Business schools, teachers            
18 Students, "new millennials"            
19 Training firms, trainers X X X      
20 Coaches, consultants & writers X X X      
21 Governments, law makers            
22 Local/regional communities            
23 NGOs            
24 Virtual communities, social networks            
25 Media, journalists            

CA = Change Agents; IN = Innovators; EA = Early Adopters;
EM = Early Majority; LM = Late Majority; LA = Laggards;
X = Management 3.0 target audience

For example, with my management 3.0 course I am (primarily) targeting middle management, employees, training firms, and coaches. And for each of these groups I’m now addressing the change agents, innovators and early adopters.


During the roving coffee in Stockholm we discussed how nice it would be to have imaginative descriptions of personas for each of the stakeholders in the list, with names and pictures. However, I fear that this would lead to the development of at least 125 personas.

That would take an imagination of the size of George R.R. Martin. 8-/

What do you think? Is it useful to have such a grid of stakeholders, distinguishing relationships to the organization from people’s mindsets for change? Could this approach be helpful to develop a common language among change agents for organizational transformation? Do you have suggestions for condensing or expanding the idea?

If you want to chat with me about Stoos, ALE, Management 3.0, or anything else, check out my Roving Coffee calendar

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