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MBA Insight: Identifying the Interests and Expectations of Stakeholders

Study alongside Walden University students with this required reading taken from the Master of Business Administration course Fostering a Culture of Innovation.

You can’t run a business—or even have a job—without connecting to other people. Every business decision you make will affect someone else or can be affected by someone else. Bosses, colleagues, investors, business partners, vendors, customers, competitors, your family, and the community in which you operate can all factor into whether you succeed or fail.

Taken together, these people and groups are called stakeholders. They are who your decisions will either benefit or harm, or are who can either help or impede your progress. If you don’t understand who your stakeholders are, you don’t fully understand how to create success.

MBA Insight: Identifying the Interests and Expectations of Stakeholders

In the MBA course Fostering a Culture of Innovation, offered as part of Walden University’s Master of Business Administration program, students learn how to identify stakeholders and meet their expectations and/or mitigate the challenges they may pose. Of the multiple resources students study, Lynda M. Applegate’s “Stakeholder Analysis Tool” offers the most succinct method for preparing for a project’s stakeholders.1 The method includes five steps:

  • Step 1: Define the new venture, initiative, or project you plan to launch or are in the process of launching. Then, identify key milestones and the time frame within which each must be accomplished.
  • Step 2: List each individual, group, unit, or organization that has a stake in whether you are successful in accomplishing your goals.
  • Step 3: Identify each stakeholder’s interests and expectations. Put a (+) sign beside those interests or expectations that are positive and a (-) sign beside those interests or expectations that are negative.
  • Step 4: Rate the importance of each stakeholder to the successful accomplishment of your goal.
  • Step 5: Identify actions you must take to meet, clarify, or realign stakeholder interests and expectations.

How a Master of Business Administration Can Help You Learn More About Business Success

If you can’t properly identify your stakeholders and anticipate their needs, you’ll struggle to succeed in business. Avoiding this struggle is one of the reasons so many aspiring business managers apply to the top MBA programs and drop everything to attend the best business schools. But earning an MBA degree—and gaining the skills you need to succeed in business—doesn’t require you to drop everything.

Thanks to online education, earning an advanced business degree no longer means moving or taking time off from your job. Through an online MBA program, you can stay right where you are while continuing to work full time. You’ll be able to take your online MBA courses from home, via the internet, at whatever time of day works best for your schedule. This makes it more possible than ever to complete a business administration master’s—which is why so many working adults are turning to online graduate degree programs.

Understanding stakeholders is a vital skill for those who want to work in management or run their own business. When you earn an MBA online, you can gain that skill.

Walden University is an accredited institution offering a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree program online. Expand your career options and earn your degree using a convenient, flexible learning platform that fits your busy life.


Walden University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission,