Salience Model: Stakeholder Analysis Tool

May 16, 2012 by  Filed under: Management 

Salience model is a method for classifying stakeholders and to decide who do matter. The problem faced by project managers is how to choose the right stakeholders and how to prioritize competing claims of their communication needs. Stakeholder salience is decided by the assessment of their power, legitimacy and urgency in the organization. Power is defined as the ability of the stakeholder to impose their will. Urgency is the need for immediate action and legitimacy is whether their involvement is appropriate. The model lets the project manager decide the relative salience of a given stakeholder. “The degree to which managers give priority to competing stakeholder’s claims” be guided by how salient stakeholders are.

Salience Model helps you in classifying stakeholders in following classes based on their power, urgency and legitimacy

1. Dormant Stakeholder
2. Discretionary Stakeholder
3. Demanding Stakeholder
4. Dominant Stakeholder
5. Dangerous Stakeholder
6. Dependent Stakeholder
7. Definitive Stakeholder

A manager has to decide who to be allocated priority depending on the stakeholders classes.

Out of the seven classifications the dormant stakeholder has power but not urgency or legitimacy. Thus the manager should be aware of them but there is no need to plan for their communication needs. Discretionary stakeholder has legitimacy but no power or urgency. His communications needs maybe in the form of actually asking for some details. This group also, thus does not need attention from the manager. Class 3 or the demanding stakeholders are those that have urgency. Their needs have to be met when asked for.

The classes that need close attention are the 4, 5, 6 and 7 where overlap between power, legitimacy and urgency is observed. Class 4, where power and legitimacy overlap, are classified as dominant stakeholders. So, they have legitimate claim on your time and their communication needs have to be taken into account. Class 5 is where power and urgency overlap and are classified as dangerous stakeholders. With the given combination, they could actually be dangerous to your project’s welfare unless their demands can be met.

Class 6 stakeholders are defined as dependent stakeholders. They have legitimacy and the urgency but not commensurate power. They should be kept informed as they could be of help when you need to leverage their legitimacy and the urgency they can get from the organization.The most important is the class 7 stakeholders- the definitive stakeholders. You need to meet this group’s every need as they are crucial to your project. This is the group where power, legitimacy converges and they get the urgency from the organization when needed.

Puneet is the founder and owner of and this article is an extract from his e-book Notes on Project Management Knowledge, now available on Amazon

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