All businesses have stakeholders and as part of any management system or project it is important to identify stakeholders and understand the influence they can have on your business. Often, shareholders are assumed to be the only stakeholder in a business, but in fact stakeholders are any interested party or individual. They may add value to the business, influence direction and affect activities.

Meeting the needs and expectations of interested parties contributes to the overall success of the organisation, and as business opportunities develop in the global market the diversity and impact of the stake holder demands will change. However the needs and expectations of each interested party or stakeholder is different and they can sometimes conflict with each other, and also, their needs can change. The means by which the needs and expectation of interested parties are acted upon can take a wide variety of forms, including collaboration, cooperation, negotiating, outsourcing or terminating an activity.

Stakeholders demand different things, but in return they can bring something to the table.