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Stakeholder Processes

Stakeholder Processes

Author: marlene johnson

At the end of this tutorial, the learner will understand the concept of the stakeholders' process

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Video Transcription

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Conflict resolution processes are often used to make decisions around public policy. These decisions are often quite complex and involve multi parties. I'm Marlene, and today I'd like to talk with you about something called Stakeholder Process.

So a stakeholder process of course involves stakeholders, and a stakeholder is anyone who would be directly impacted by any decision that is made, any course of action that is taken. So the stakeholder process seeks to get input from everyone who would be impacted by the decision, the direct impact of the decision would affect them. And so all parties who would be impacted are brought together, and the process involves trying to reach a consensus from these parties.

So it is a longer process typically because the issues are more complex. And the success really depends on identifying all the parties and including them at the table. Of course, there's probably a conflict analysis that will be done up front by an intervener to collect information from the parties, but the process is the same as a typical conflict resolution process.

I have that process written here. It starts by identifying the parties, and there may be multiple parties, bringing those parties to the table and then if even more parties are identified, asking them to join.

Setting ground rules. So once the parties do we meet, and this may be after a conflict analysis, letting the party set ground rules for how they want the process to proceed.

Identifying interests. And this can take some time, particularly if you've got multi parties. What are the interests of the various groups around this public policy?

And then of course, brainstorming solutions. What are the solutions that are available to us, the best possible solutions to satisfy mutual needs and interests of all these parties.

And then of course evaluating the solutions and trying to get consensus or buy-in. If there's not consensus, then returning back to perhaps identifying interests and concerns, brainstorming more solutions. So it's an iterative process much as it is in a typical conflict resolution process.

So here's an example of how this might work. I had mentioned public policy. We've actually seen this quite recently here in the state of Minnesota around the St. Croix Bridge. Now the issue was to replace this 80-year-old Stillwater Lift Bridge and make the flow of traffic between Stillwater Minnesota and Hudson Wisconsin easier and more effective and safer.

And this was an issue that had been going on for years, how to resolve this. And they did hold a stakeholder process as part of the resolution here. And it involved multi parties. The issues involved of course were transportation, historic preservation, and there were a number of environmental questions. So these were the issues.

And they brought together federal and state agencies, local governments, and nine public interest groups. So there were a lot of parties involved in this. And it when on-- it started in 2003, the stakeholder process-- and actually went through 2006. And the bridge, they have decided now in an outcome, the bridge is going to be built this year. I think in April or May they'll begin.

But the success here is going to depend upon keeping these parties involved. So the plan is to have smaller, issue-based meetings continue with various parties that are involved here, various stakeholders. Because obviously there will continue to be issues that surface in a project of this scale and magnitude.

So that's an example of a stakeholder process, and the process as I said is the same, really, as in any conflict resolution process. It's just that it's longer, in many cases it's much longer because of the complexity and the number of parties involved.

So thank you for joining me in this tutorial, and I look forward to next time.

Terms to Know

Selection of a course of action.

Direct Impact of Decision

The results of a selected action on given individuals.


In stakeholder processes, anyone who will be directly impacted by a decision and whose input is sought for reaching consensus on that decision.

Stakeholder Process

A conflict resolution decision making process in which consensus is sought on a decision from all persons directly affected by the decision.