Levels of Stakeholder Participation

In designing the participatory process, the level of involvement of each stakeholder, depending on the given institutional framework, differs and should be defined. Different levels would require the involvement of different stakeholders. Experience shows that involving all stakeholders to participate fully in all decision-making stages is neither realistic nor useful in a given situation. Each stakeholder category has a specific role to play and can be said to have an orbit of influence with respect to a particular activity.

  • The decision-makers are at the centre of the orbit of influence on the decision-making process.
  • Orbit 1 contains the stakeholders who are partners in decision-making. Final decisions must be made with their concurrence.
  • Orbit 2 features the creators, who are deeply involved in the decision being made and in developing alternatives and are therefore constantly involved.
  • Orbit 3 consists of the advisors, who are active but not constantly involved and are called upon periodically for advice.
  • Orbit 4 features the reviewers, those who wish to be kept informed before a decision becomes a policy, rule, law or fait accompli. However, they do not feel the need to be active throughout the process.
  • Orbit 5 contains the observers. These are people who do not want to be surprised. They watch and react only if an issue concerns them. However, they could be party to the process, but not entirely involved.
  • The outer orbit holds those who are not seen in the process, but who will react if they are suddenly surprised and feel threatened.

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References

Priscoli (2001)