Week 7 (October 14) - Stakeholder Analysis and Managing Participation Procsses

Stakeholder analysis may be an obvious part of designing planning and participation processes, but it is surprising how infrequently careful stakeholder analysis is done. Why do you think that would be the case?


I suspect some of the reason that stakeholder analysis is often ignored is professional bias, time constraints, and the nature of some issues.

In any specialized field, a professional bias is likely to develop. A professional will always "know" more than the uninformed public, so why not just make decision that they "know" will be the best one? It's also just plain easier to make a decision without involving stakeholders (even if they ultimately are bad decisions).

Sometimes, there just isn't time to properly follow a planning process or engage stakeholders. If a landowner threatens to file a lawsuit over development delays, is a city planner really going to advocate a careful stakeholder analysis? Maybe, but I'll bet that more often than not, the city acquiesces.

Finally, as the Thomas article suggests, some issues just don't lend themselves to stakeholder involvement. Obviously, there must be some care taken or it's just too easy to fall back on the excuse that professionals know best.

I agree with Brad- there is some level of professional bias against careful stakeholder analysis. Working with stakeholders is seen as something “extra� that must be piled on top of someone’s workload, rather than an integral part of every planning project. I also think public involvement can be somewhat reactionary. As Thomas points out, many planners’ decisions do not require intense involvement with outside stakeholders. It may seem easier for planners to proceed with their work and wait and see what types of conflicts materialize, rather than spend a great deal of time anticipating every possible conflict that could result from their work and trying to prevent it. This is an inefficient use of planners’ time.
Furthermore, bureaucratic constraints can also restrict how planners interact with stakeholders. Minneapolis’ RFP process can create conflict among stakeholders. For example, the city bids out towing contracts every five years. Existing contractors and their competitors must submit bids and the lowest bidder gets the contract, regardless of their past relationship with the city. This can create a large amount of conflict from existing contractors who get under-bid and are not asked to renew contracts. City planners can spend large amounts of time dealing with these angry stakeholders. However, because the RFP process is mandated by ordinance; stakeholder analysis would do little to minimize the conflict between the city and the losing bidders. Many planning processes are routinized by city mandate and careful stakeholder analysis would not alter the ability of planners to effectively manage conflict.

I agree with Brad's final point, citing Thomas: sometimes decisions simply aren't far-reaching enough to warrant public involvement. A stakeholder analysis involves a considerable amount of time and energy, and though the alternatives (opportunity costs, conflicts, even DISASTER!) are great, the choice may be made to make an internal decision and save time and money in doing so.The danger in this all too accurate perception is that this can quickly become a slippery slope. Planners are engaged in a wide range of decisions. Some that can easily be made at an internal level, while others should require more public input. The difficultly become drawing the line between these internal decisions and the more complex external ones. For a time- and resource-strapped professional planner, it can be easy to decide that slightly complex decisions can be determined internally, when they would be decided externally if the resources were present. In these cases, the participation process is largely reactive.

I would also agree there is a tendency towards professionalization, and over time as planners become more confident in their skills, it is easy to imagine that they would get more set in their ways. This can minimize the amount of real public process in planning.

I would like to point out several other issues that could lead to less stakeholder analysis. Planners and others get used to working within a particular bureaucracy. While it is often argued that there are many things to gain by being collaborative, people get used to working with a smaller frame within their department or company (or whatever). It takes extra effort to frame one's work within a neighborhood context or a city context (or larger), and this problems often leads to decreased collaboration. In summary, I would argue that people who are very collaborative in their work would be better able to do a stakeholder analysis because of their relationships and larger frame.

Also, several of the articles we read this week spoke about stakeholder analysis in a way that framed issues in terms of 2 sides. When there are two clear sides on an issues, I think a stakeholder analysis is pretty straightforward. However, there are often many shades of opinions, and sometimes stakeholders may feel ambiguous or unsure about what they advocate for a specific issue. Planners also may feel this way.

The last point that I will make is that it is often hard to even identify stakeholders, much less engage them. I would argue that planners need to spend a lot of time establishing and maintaining relationships while continually being open to engaging new people. This is a lot of work, and many in the field do not enjoy this kind of work. However, without these relationships it is next to impossible to do a stakeholder analysis. There are just too many unknowns.

Valid points all around. I find myself nodding in agreement with all of them. I think stakeholder involvement or outreach in general is the one external requirement (if even a requirement, rarely is it embedded in municipal law/ordinances) of major planning decisions that are mostly made internally. I distinguish major from minor planning decisions and refer to John’s spectrum of inform-consult-involve-collaborate-empower to decide to what extent and through what channels should the public be involved in a planning decision. There are minor planning decisions such as underground sewer infrastructure projects that just don’t need public involvement (they mostly adhere to projected growth and capacity modeling), and then there are fixed-guideway transit and streetscaping/urban design projects or really any commercial/retail endeavor that call for greater levels of involvement.
Stakeholder involvement is sort of dreaded; there are scheduling issues, space issues, time, project, and budget constraints, and tyranny by those who actually show up. But what the engineers and planners conjure up on their drawing boards, the public has to actually live, work, and play in. This should be sufficient rationale to reach out to those mostly affected by any public sector project. There are bureaucratic and institutional hurdles that are also in place serving as a disincentive to stakeholder involvement. The stakeholders generally desire more than what the allocated budget allows for, and cost effectiveness indices tend to inhibit that for large-scale projects. Generally, the sheer multiplicity and divergence of stakeholder interests renders their involvement a rather daunting task indeed. Supra-interests, common good/ground assessments, and basic value seeking may offer some limited hope here.

I do think there is a degree of time constraint and oversight of stakeholder analysis. Too often, practicing planners get in habit of following a set of rules, or a boilerplate set of text in every memo. Many times, a planner may only go so far as to ask themselves, "how will the governing body I report to react to my recommendation?".

It would seem that it would be second nature for stakeholder analysis to be done for each decision to be made in order for an effective decision to be made, as the Bryson articles suggest. However, with so many decisions made each day, that process may take a large amount of time and resources.

I also feel that some planners are afraid of what the decision may be if they include certain stakeholders. It is important to note that the planner is not the decision maker, but support for the decision maker. A planner should present a well rounded summary of all posibilities and consequences to all stakeholders. As the Goetz article suggest, how you frame the question has a large impact how people react.

Furthermore, I feel that the perception of past, poor attendance can deject a planner to properly assessing stakeholder groups. Creating a sense of urgency may attract better attendance. Many stakeholders also share busy schedules and will not become involved unless absolutely necessary.

Finally, I would leave with a comment from the Crosby and Bryson that states that this is an ongoing process. Public policy is fluid. Times change. Stakeholders change. The process does not end with a final vote, a final resolution, or a final motion to adjourn.

Definitely agree with what everyone is saying. The 2-sided viewpoint in the articles is too prescriptive. I agree with Derek that when a situation has apparent opposing sides stakeholder analysis is a great tool, but so often the issue is much more complex for planners. And really, in practice, time constraints are many and if stakeholder analysis and participation processes are not required, they may be the first thing to go. Planners may believe that this is an acceptable practice because they are hired to ‘plan’ and to understand the people and places they work in. They are the experts in the field and may feel they can represent the common good on their own. Not that that is necessarily a good thing, but probably practical in reality.

Others have also mentioned the difficulty in identifying stakeholders. Another facet of that problem may be that the same ten people are always the representation of the community. Are these people truly the stakeholders in a city? Are they even a representation of the stakeholders? While they may have good intentions, I would argue that most times they are not. They are a small sliver of persons who have the time (again, time constraints) to represent some parts of the community, but never all parts and I think that is a heavy concern for planners when trying to conduct stakeholder analysis.

Careful stakeholder analysis is also often ignored because of the lack of purpose in relation to the overall participation process. According to Bryson’s article, there is no overwhelming evidence indicating that stakeholder analyses do help produce desirable outcomes. Therefore, when there is no indicator to its success rate, it may seem like an easy step to eliminate and will not affect the desirable outcome. As Brad and others said above, stakeholder analysis is time consuming and heavily relies on the motivation of the internal organization to create a stakeholder analysis. It seems like a waste of time to create a careful stakeholder analysis when just identifying the key stakeholders will suffice for this portion of the participation process.

I believe the lack of evidence indicating stakeholder analyses purpose is because its lack of measurable success. Measuring success is more difficult for the public and nonprofit sector because it is not quantitatively measured, such as quarterly sales used in the private sector. Therefore, it is difficult to indicate whether or not the organization is going in the right direction or if there needs to be a switch in the strategic thinking and apply different stakeholder analysis techniques.

I feel there are many reasons that despite its perceived benefits stakeholder analysis is not frequently used. One of the reasons is that the process is designed to be used within a triangle of scale, time and feasibility. Scale would refer to the scale of the issue to be dealt with and whether it justifies the use of the analysis. Time simply refers to whether the analysis can be used effectively and to its full intention based on how soon the issue needs to be resolved. Feasibility can be measured in terms of inputs (effort or monetary) and if it is actually practical to use the analysis for a given issue. It is often the case that all three factors are not adequate enough to support the use of the process.

In his 2004 article titled ‘What to do when stakeholders matter’ John Bryson touches on other factors that discourage the use of the analysis. Of the factors discussed I feel that lack of education about the method and little research on which method to use in what situation and if the method actually works hamper the use of the process to a great extent. If people are not sure whether the process works or not they would think twice about investing time, energy and money in the process. The methods and techniques used for stakeholder analysis are not common knowledge and the predetermined notion that it is a very complex and tedious process may also discourage people from using the analysis. The lack of knowledge also means that effective implementation of the process would require a well informed organizer or facilitator which may not be a viable option at times.
Finally, the fear of the stakeholder analysis hurting the goals or intentions of the person that would be expected initiate the process also dissuades many from using the method.

I believe there are several possible reasons why stakeholder analysis is not an automatic component of planning processes. First, there is a perception that it is difficult to predict stakeholder reactions because public processes often take on a life of their own. Thomas references the Vroom and Yetton theory and indicates that the theory is based upon the notion that one approach to involving stakeholders is not likely to succeed in all circumstances. Stakeholder involvement is can be viewed as time-consuming, and it is possible that performing careful stakeholder analysis is viewed as an unnecessary burden if the process is unpredictable.

Secondly, a perception exists that the bureaucratic and regulatory framework in which a planner works can create a feeling of powerlessness with regard to decision making. If a planner perceives themselves as being incapacitated because of regulatory requirements for stakeholder involvement, their decision-making is likely to be more reflective of the bureaucratic process requirements than actual stakeholder values.

Thirdly, both Thomas and Bryson mention that there is a lack of information for planners about how and when to involve stakeholders, which can lead to too little involvement in circumstances where a high degree of involvement is warranted. Involving stakeholders can be perceived as being too difficult because planners do not always have the tools and training needed to involve the public effectively.

Finally, related to the third point, a lack of knowledge about how much and when stakeholders should be involved can create too much involvement in some cases, which can be a detriment to decision-making. Conversely, too little involvement can result in premature decision-making that creates a multitude of problems in the future if key stakeholders do not agree with the decision. Involvement of stakeholders in many ways is a subjective decision that is based upon perceptions about the importance of a particular project. The potential for encouraging too much stakeholder involvement is worrisome for planners because of the pressure to facilitate decision-making. There is a perception that stakeholder involvement delays processes, which may scare planners into taking a minimalist approach to involving the public (i.e., involving stakeholders only as prescribed by regulatory requirements) to ensure progress is made.

While it may be obvious that stakeholder analysis should take place in all or most of designing planning and participation processes, it rarely happens. This is due to the fact, like all previous post have raised, that proper stakeholder analysis takes time and also active participation by those who have the power to directly affect the organization’s/issues future (Bryson 22). I would also like to add that performing a stakeholder analysis depends upon an area’s culture. While it seems apparent to many planners in urban areas or in businesses to perform a stakeholder analysis; it is not obvious to those possibly at a Cooperative Electric Company or a City Council that assumes responsibility for making decisions internally that affect its constituents. Due to lack of support or participation, stakeholder analyses are infrequent.
I would also agree with the above comments and also the Thomas article that sometimes a stakeholder analysis is not always needed. Involving the public on particularly issues could warrant a dead-lock among the public in which nothing gets done. Other reasons in which stakeholder analyses are not properly done could be that the stakeholders were not carefully defined or concerns of producing a winning coalition overpowered and watered down the intent and impact of such an analysis. In addition, some planners and facilitators do not possess the proper knowledge and tools to carry out a successful stakeholder analysis.

I agree with all of the above comments about stakeholder analysis. There are situations where it may simply not be feasible to conduct a thorough stakeholder analysis. This can happen for many reasons, including time, money, or other resources. One example is planning following a natural disaster. There is probably not time to conduct a stakeholder analysis to determine the best plan of repairing damaged infrastructure. Hopefully an emergency response plan has been implemented previously that was created following stakeholder analysis.
I think that planners are placed in an interesting position when stakeholders are identified and consulted, and their decisions or views are not inline with what the planner is pretty sure is right. Should planners rely on their professional training or bias, or put all of that aside, and work on implementing a plan that they do not agree with? Maybe the planner can formulate a compromise plan, that takes into account the views of the stakeholders, and is guided by their professional knowledge.

I think that Samatha makes a very good point in that many planners do not have the skills to conduct an adequate stakeholder analysis. A careful stakeholder analysis can be the difference in a project succeeding or failing, based upon unforseen circumstances.

Identifying your stakeholders and what is important to them is never a waste of time. I believe that many of the problems between planners and stakeholders come from the attitude held by many planning professionals that they are always right. In actuality, most of the time, the stakeholders are the ones who are right. They have a stake in the decision making process becasue they are directly or indirectly affected by it. A professional planner may have the data, but they are not always aware or understanding of the real life circumstances facing the stakeholders.

I also want to note that in the professional world, planners will have to help implement plans they do not agree with in many circumstances. Agreeing with the plan is not the ultimate goal. The goal is that through careful stakeholder analysis, a planner may come to understand the needs of the stakeholder and be able to use their professional skill to deliver a solid plan acceptable to both the "professionals" and the stakeholders.

When designing planning and the participation process we may first consult our own professional wisdom, but we may tend to go no further than that because of multiple reasons. Many of which can debate public participation's existence at all. I believe public participation is a general requirement, and usually a good thing. I also believe in certain cases that the “public� can be a small group of individuals looking out for a small group of private interests. In that case what good has public participation done when the planner has not changed anything to accommodate that “public�. The result is a set back in time and money.

One reason we leave out stakeholder analysis may be because of historical success that has existed within centralized planning commissions. Two examples of that are Robert Moses and Le Corbusier. The combination of a magnitude of centralized power and a lack of public input has allowed for great success in building infrastructure, parks, and housing. Because of the concentration of power amongst these two, ideals and implementation has been successful in some eyes. Others that suffered displacement or harsh conditions that resulted may feel differently.

Another reason is that when advertising a proposal for change, as a planner, you are immediately building consensus whether that is intended or not. Consensus is not always in your favor if the public is of different opinion. Therefore if a planner can sneak a plan through legislation without stakeholder analysis they may find more success in implementation. When planning as professionals I believe there will be unique cases when the planners and professionals involved will take a different opinion than the public. This is when, as planners, we are paid for our judgment and even though facing opposition we are following some code of ethics.

It is important to note, however, that stakeholder analysis does not mean an analysis of all stakeholders involved. Bryson (2004) states that only the key stakeholders must be involved, which counteracts the time constraint argument presented by many on this post. Planners must take caution when performing a stakeholder analysis, however, as prohibiting certain stakeholders may make things worse and involving unimportant stakeholders takes more time and provides unnecessary information when guiding the decision-making processes.

An additional reason why stakeholder analysis might not be utilized as often as it should is that planners may not fully understand that proper stakeholder analysis often leads to more successful outcomes and can be less time-consuming long term. This thought process is mirrored in our everyday lives. We often cut corners simply to get to the finish line, which may lead to lower performance levels. Therefore, time management when performing a stakeholder analysis is crucial. Picking only key stakeholders and using the proper analysis technique can save time and keep high success levels. This is where Planners use their expert judgment.

When considering what stakeholders are key in a planning process, it is important for the planner to not only determine who are important in regard to the most influential, but to also look at those who may have seemingly little influence, but will be impacted significantly. The greater attention paid to those individuals or groups will significantly reduce road blocks as the plan proceeds. Strategic anticipation is one of the most powerful tools planners can possess.

Unfortunately, not recognizing these groups, or underestimating them often leads to problems in the planning process and planners are left to start over or to move forward and implement a plan that is greatly opposed. The reasons planners come up short vary. There might be time constraints, lack of information, lack of understanding consequences, early process stakeholder apathy, etc.

The best way for planners to avoid problems is to include as many stakeholders as early in the planning process as possible, to anticipate the unexpected, and remain flexible should the unexpected occur.

I think that stakeholder analysis does not frequently take place for many of the afore mentioned reasons. Yet I hesitate to view this situation purely from the agency or "expert" angle. My first reaction to the Thomas article, Public Involvement and Governmental Effectiveness, was that the dichotomy he drew attention to regarding "acceptability" versus "quality" and corresponding levels of appropriate stakeholder involvement was clever. Then when I thought about it a little longer, I found it to be insulting. Though I come to class thinking about problems as a future social science professional in the environmental field, I leave class as a citizen and ultimately a stakeholder in any number of public policy debates. It is as a citizen that I refuse to believe that it is allowable to let the scientific elite, or any other type of elite, shoulder the burden of policy because they have reasoned that myself and other non-elites are somehow the purveyors of poor policy solutions. Stakeholders are not hurdles to be overcome or adversaries to be wooed - mindsets that makes many shy away from incorporating stakeholders into the process. In my opinion, participatory approaches should in the spirit of optimism frame stakeholders as allies in waiting. In essence, it is not only the mindset of stakeholders that must be changed to effectively incorporate them into policy and management, it is also the mindset of those in charge of incorporating stakeholders that must change as well. To incorporate stakeholders is to relinquish power to a certain degree. It is in the struggle to retain this power, no matter how minute, that interferes with planning processes devised around the misguided notion that they can embrace stakeholder engagement while concurrently keeping stakeholders low on the power totem pole. Giving stakeholders responsibilities but no power is like giving them freedom in a world with no air. It is a recipe for disaster that gives stakeholder engagement a bad reputation because it is doomed from the start. To avoide this problem, I think Bryson's own article, "What to Do When Stakeholders Matter," helps to underline complexities of different stakeholder groups and how this must be taken into account when stakeholder engagement is called for. It is a solid place to start from when trying to wrap one's arms around stakeholders and stakeholder engagement for the first time.

Both Brad and Fay bring up and expand on three scenarios of why stakeholder analysis is often ignored, being professional bias, time constraints and as Thomas discusses the nature of some issues. I would add two items to this list. First, the perception that a stakeholder analysis process is does not produce valuable results. Second, those designing planning and participation processes may not understand what a stakeholder analysis process.

Bryson mentions that there are those who argue that the stakeholder analysis process is too cumbersome and produces no-so-surprising results. This may be another way of expressing time constraints. As well, this argument might be another way of expressing resource constraints. Furthermore, not valuing a stakeholder analysis process might be a reflection of the culture of the working environment. Given conditions, a ‘just get it done’ culture may preclude sound and relatively inexpensive processes.

The second point addresses general ignorance. One who might b e new to designing a planning or participation genuinely might not know of what a stakeholder analysis process is or how to implement one. Or, there may be an awareness of what a stakeholder analysis process is, but the level of understanding as to how important it is just not there.

Fortunately with a little time and training, this second scenario is easily fixed. However, rectifying the first scenario might prove more problematic. Arguably, project additions to ease time or resource constraints are hard. Changing culture? Well, that can be more than hard.

As Brad indicated before, there is a certain amount of biasness involved during the stakeholder analysis and can be overlooked because of various reasons. Stakeholder analysis is considered as time consuming, an extra expense of resources and there is also a preconceived notion that it hardly help produce ‘desirable outcome‘ as Bryson argued. Further, authors have pointed out that it is difficult in identifying legitimate stakeholders and even if they are identified, it is very hard to ‘pin them down’ because of the differences in their needs, inherent nature and influence over the organization.

Moreover, as Thomas argued that sometimes the project doesn’t always require involvement of stakeholders. Although it depends upon the scale, type and the requirement of the project. Also even though stakeholders are involved, there maybe chances of biasness because it may not also represent all the concerned groups or some groups may easily be overlooked over the others which complicates the decision process for the planners. The process may become more complicated as stakeholder change over time, their priorities, available resources and skill may also change.

I think that there is an assumption within an organization that they are aware of all the stakeholders affecting their program. Often times it is assumed that, as Eden and Ackerman believe, that the only people who matter are those who can implement change. With this assumption boards, contributors, CEOs, Principals, Managers, Officers and so on are easily identifiable. Also, it is often assumed that community decision-making are centralized and that the community representatives were comprised of public officials and prominent private people representing the community as a whole – which doesn’t require additional review of potential stakeholders.

Additionally, I agree that budgetary issues, time constraints, outside influencers, and limited resources often get in the way of performing all the necessary steps to implementing a planning process.

I think that there are many reasons why stakeholder analysis is not completed to its necessary extent. Planners have so many roles to play as the technical gatherer of information, an advocate to ensure that all voices are heard throughout the process and acting as mediators and facilitators to allow ideas to move freely among stakeholders. The skills needed for all these roles differ significantly and if a planner does not have the necessary skill-set, then the task becomes finding a consultant or a neutral person that can handle these tasks without bias. This then brings in the issue of funding. Where does the money come from to host meetings, providing services to citizens that attend events, or paying people to run a meeting?

Another major issue is planner bias within the process. Planners are to determine necessary stakeholders when looking at a plan and identify groups and individuals that could cause both positive and negative impacts. In the Bryson article, “What to Do When Stakeholders Matter�, a statement is made to focus more so on ‘key stakeholders’ and attempt to satisfy their needs, rather than all involved parties. This I feel is very risky and not truly inclusive. If an organized group of stakeholders believe that they are intrinsically involved in the process and the planner does not agree, this one group can create serious conflicts in the remaining process. This goes back to the idea that planners’ need support from outside, unbiased individuals that can help determine who all the stakeholders are.

I think that one of the major reasons why planners are hesitant to engage in careful stakeholder analyses is because of the time and resources it requires.

In class, we were able to brainstorm out stakeholders, construct our ‘power vs. interest’ grids, and define the important issues for each group well within two and a half hours. This was a great exercise that demonstrated the steps involved, but it was extremely “quick and dirty�. From my own experiences, putting together an actual list of stakeholders is a time consuming, thoughtful process that can go on for days and even weeks.

Another concern when identifying stakeholder groups is knowing specifically who the stakeholders are. For example, you might list ‘adjacent property owners’ as a key stakeholder, but who do you actually contact when it comes time to invite stakeholders to a discussion or visioning session? Is that group organized? Do they have representatives? This is all work that a planner must spend time figuring out. Let’s say that a restaurant is identified as a stakeholder. Through research you come to find that it is owned by an LLC in another state. Who is the contact there? How do you get them to participate? These are all of the headaches that a planner must deal with and it is what I think contributes to them shying away from conducting careful stakeholder analyses.

The previous posts identify many of the reasons why planners might not undertake a stakeholder analysis. I don't have much more to offer to that discussion other than to maintain that I do believe it is terribly important, regardless of the issue, for the health of democracy. My experience in the cultural sector has shown me that although the concerns might not be about water quality or emergency relief or transit corridors, a public participation process that pays special attention to key stakeholders is essential for organizational credibility as well as issue resolution.

Here's something else to think about. I would urge planners to borrow a tool from community organizing that can help address some of the aforementioned impediments. Planners, like others interested in the common good, should consider the merits of relational or one-to-one meetings. As a practice, planners could work to build a network of average citizens and change makers who could help populate a planning process around a specific issue. Through these meetings, planners would really come to know the individuals interviewed and the perspectives they represent. When an issue arises, the planner then can build on that public relationship and ask for assistance in helping to formulate a list of relevant stakeholders in that issue. Through this expanded network of relationships, a planner could end up with a pretty dense rolodex of contacts on any number of topics and thus be more comfortable and confident in engaging them in a planning process.

My thanks to Heather and John for resuming this thread. I am coming back to this after reviewing the issue of public participation in design. Together, these issues leave me to believe that planners are little more than designers at heart. It would seem that the public is left out of design processes for many of the same reasons that planners do not perform stakeholder analyses: time, money and a hesitation to relinquish control. Planners, like designers, are trained professionals after all, and therefore we must know best. Otherwise what is the meaning of MURP after a name. I am of course mostly kidding. As Derek noted previously, there are many unknowns with performing a stakeholder analysis which must reflect the concerns of designers of allowing the public to partake in a design process.

I, like many of the earlier posts, place most emphasis in time and fiscal constraints faced by planners. How should this be addressed? One of the authors writing about public involvement in design found that involvement was most likely to occur following an outcry of public sentiment. A public outcry of interest would likely have the same effect with planners, opening the process to greater involvement. However, it would seem that if the purpose of a stakeholder analysis is to predict potential stakeholders and their respective concerns, a public outcry might simply direct the planner’s attention to the vocal group and not result in greater involvement overall.

Finally, I would like to revisit the point Amanda highlighted in Bryson’s article – the lack of evidence showing that stakeholder analyses produce more desirable outcomes. This point is missing in my comparison to the design process. In the case of design, authors conclude that greater public involvement does create preferred outcomes. So, stakeholder analysis – results are iffy, public participation in design – results are desirable.

Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs