An individual, group or an organization that has an interest in the organization and delivery of health care. [1] Stakeholder management involves mapping who the stakeholders are and taking stock of their interests and concerns. Examples of stakeholders include patients, patients’ families, suppliers, governments, private entities, communities, employees, and shareholders.

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WHO Definitions of Stakeholders

WHO Health Systems Strengthening Glossary [1]

An individual, group or an organization that has an interest in the organization and delivery of health care.

WHO Ageing & Health Glossary [2]

Stakeholders (in aged care): People or groups who have an involvement or interest in the aged care system, including beneficiaries, providers and funders.


Other Definitions of Stakeholders

United Nations Environment Programme [3]

Stakeholder: Any group or individual who can affect, or is affected by, an organization or its activities. Also, any individual or group that can help define value propositions for the organization.

PubMed Medical Subject Headings (MeSH)

A process between an entity and those groups or individuals potentially or actually impacted by the actions of that entity over a range of activities and approaches.

Year introduced: 2018

Overseas Development Institute [4]

A stakeholder is a person who has something to gain or lose through the outcomes of a planning process or project. In many circles, these are called interest groups and they can have a powerful bearing on the outcomes of political processes.


On Stakeholder Theory

Buchholz & Rosenthal, 2004 [5]

Stakeholder Theory, pertains to corporations that's an alternative to government regulation:

"Freeman [6] the stakeholder concept has been widely employed to describe and analyze the corporation's relationship to society...While each scholar may define the concept somewhat differently, each version generally stands for the same principle, namely that corporations should heed the needs, interests, and influence of those affected by their policies and operations [7]. A typical definition is that of Carroll [8] which holds that a stakeholder may be thought of as "any individual or group who can affect or is affected by the actions, decisions, policies, practices, or goals of the organization."

Clarkson defines a stakeholder as "those persons or interests that have a stake, something to gain or lose as a result of its [the corporation's] activities" [9] A stakeholder, then, is an individual or group that has some kind of stake in what business does and may also affect the organization in some fashion.

The typical stakeholders are considered to be consumers, suppliers, government, competitors, communities, employees, and of course, stockholders, although the stakeholder map of any given corporation with respect to a given issue can become quite complicated [8]. Stakeholder management involves taking the interests and concerns of these various groups and individuals into account in arriving at a management decision so that they are all satisfied at least to some extent, or at least that the most important stakeholders with regard to any given issue, are satisfied.

The "stakeholder model" has become the focus of an effort to "redefine" the corporation as an entity within the economy, policy and society [10]. Freeman himself has said that he does not seek the demise of the modem corporation, but rather its transformation, to "rebuild the ship, plank by plank, while it remains afloat." [6]. It is hoped that stakeholder capitalism can replace managerial capitalism where managers bear a special relationship to stockholders who are held to be primary. The notion that managers have a special duty to stockholders is to be replaced by the notion that managers have a fiduciary relationship to stakeholders, defined as those groups who have a stake in or claim on the firm [6].

Stakeholder theory is considered to be something of an alternative to government regulation. In his notion about a stakeholder theory of capitalism. Freeman has hopes that through stakeholder pressure, corporations will implement concerns related to product safety, truth in advertising, workplace safety, environmental problems, and other issues that have been on the SIM agenda for years, and thus make government intervention unnecessary. As

Freeman again says; "Implementation of stakeholder management principles, in the long run, mitigates the need for industrial policy and an increasing role of government intervention and regulation" [6]. Thus stakeholder theorists hope that government will matter less as stakeholder principles are implemented throughout corporate America.

Harrington, 1996 [12]

In spite of the persistence of agency theories of the firm, a stakeholder theory of the firm best approximates a true descriptive and normative view of business organizations. If the role of government is to maximize the full range of public-private relationships for any given series of inputs, and the role of the firms is to maximize the balance of diverse stakeholders' interests, then a stakeholders' interests paradigm becomes the natural foundation for the ethical analysis of policies which regulate business.

Cases of Stakeholders

Bi-directional influence between government and external stakeholders

  • Aggestam, F. (2014). Effects of the manager's value orientation on stakeholder participation: At the front line of policy implementation. Water Policy, 16(1), 62-78.

Influence of external stakeholders on government

  • Nguyen Long, L. A., Foster, M., & Arnold, G. (2019). The impact of stakeholder engagement on local policy decision making. Policy Sciences, 52(4), 549-571.

Stakeholder analyses

  • Iran network analysis: Behzadifar, M., Gorji, H. A., Rezapour, A., Rezvanian, A., Bragazzi, N. L., & Vatankhah, S. (2019). Hepatitis C virus-related policy-making in iran: A stakeholder and social network analysis. Health Research Policy and Systems, 17
  • Mexico's SSB tax policy: Moise, N., Cifuentes, E., Orozco, E., & Willett, W. (2011). Limiting the consumption of sugar sweetened beverages in mexico's obesogenic environment: A qualitative policy review and stakeholder analysis. Journal of Public Health Policy, 32(4), 458-75.
  • United States: Sheila, K. M. (2002). Coordination among health care stakeholders: Effect of state health policy choices. Journal of Health and Human Services Administration, 25(1), 137-65.
  • Morone, P., Camacho Cuena, E., Kocur, I., & Banatvala, N. (2014). Securing support for eye health policy in low- and middle-income countries: Identifying stakeholders through a multi-level analysis. Journal of Public Health Policy, 35(2), 185-203.

Stakeholders’ perception of policy

  • Alcohol policy in Malwai "Informants suggested that policy should address informal alcohol’s content, selling times, and easy access." | Limaye RJ, Rutkow L, Rimal RN, Jernigan DH. Informal alcohol in Malawi: stakeholder perceptions and policy recommendations. Journal of public health policy. 2014 Feb 1;35(1):119-31.
  • Smoking in Australia: Burns, S., Bowser, N., Smith, J., Jancey, J., & Crawford, G. (2014). An exploratory study of smokers' and stakeholders' expectations of the implementation of a smoke-free policy in a university setting. Health Promotion Journal of Australia, 25(2), 129-135.
  • Food regulation:  July 2018 stakeholder update on rapidly developing policy on food contaminants. (2018). World Food Regulation Review, 28(2), 14-17.
  • Land-use: Lopes, J., Farinha, L., Ferreira, J. J., & Silveira, P. (2018). Does regional VRIO model help policy-makers to assess the resources of a region? A stakeholder perception approach. Land use Policy, 79, 659


[1] WHO Health Systems Strengthening Glossary

[2] WHO Centre for Health Development (‎‎‎Kobe, Japan)‎‎‎. (2004). A glossary of terms for community health care and services for older persons. Kobe, Japan : WHO Centre for Health Development.

[3] Stakeholder Research Associates Canada Inc., United Nations Environment Programme, Accountability: Stakeholder Engagement, 2005.


[5] Buchholz RA, Rosenthal SB. Stakeholder theory and public policy: How governments matter. Journal of Business Ethics. 2004 May 1;51(2):143-53.

[6] Freeman, R. E. (1984). Strategic management: a stakeholder approach. Massachusetts: Pitman.

[7] Frederick, W. C.: 1992, 'Social Issues in Management: Coming of Age or Prematurely Gray?'

[8] Carroll, A. B. (1991). The pyramid of corporate social responsibility: toward the moral management of organizational stakeholders. Business Horizons, 34(4), 39–48.

[9] Clarkson, M. B. E. (1995). A stakeholder framework for analyzing and evaluating corporate social performance. Academy of Management Review, 20, 92–117.

[10] Donaldson, T., & Preston, L. E. (1995). The Stakeholder Theory of the Corporation: Concepts, Evidence, and Implications. The Academy of Management Review20(1), 65–91.


[12] Harrington LK. Ethics and public policy analysis: Stakeholders' interests and regulatory policy. Journal of Business Ethics. 1996 Apr 1;15(4):373-82