Different stakeholders have different interests and expectations

In the "why are stakeholders important" background it is explained which stakeholders are relevant and why. But it is also important to understand that each stakeholder has different ideas about your project and it's importance. Each stakeholder also has different interests to participate or not, has different expectations as to the results of the project and has different definitions of when the project will be successful. Also the answer to the question "what's in it for me" is different for each stakeholder.

This diversity of expectations and ways of defining success by the different stakeholders has two implications: 

  1. If your project has made promises to meet diverse expectations (because the engagement of stakeholders is important for the success and durability of the change), you also need to make sure that you collect the appropriate evidence in your monitoring and evaluation process to be able to show that the expectations have been met. Thus, you are likely to need multiple success criteria, indicators and baselines.
  2. Ideally, the diverse expectations are mutually compatible, but in some cases, you may need to balance between different priorities, as well as between external demands and your own expectations toward the project. Therefore, it is important to discuss and agree on success criteria early on in the project. Ideally, one discusses and agrees upon success criteria with several stakeholders, not only internally.

Practical examples

Below are some examples:

Different stakeholder, expectations and success definitions in projects to refurbish homes and improve energy efficiency

  • Central government is likely to perceive success in terms of reduced energy demand, improved energy security and reduced CO2 emissions. In some countries, refurbishment may also be a social policy measure to combat fuel poverty.
  • Local government may be more interested in employment effects and keeping the building stock in good shape. In some regions, refurbishment may also be a social policy measure to combat fuel poverty.
  • Participating companies may expect the project to create new markets and increased revenues.
  • Residents (energy end-users) are most likely to value increased comfort, better living conditions and lower energy bills as important outcomes.
  • Examples: see Building energy audits project (LV), Kirklees Warm Zone (UK)

Different stakeholder, expectations and success definitions in projects to improve energy management in offices

  • Central government is likely to perceive success in terms of reduced energy demand, improved energy security and reduced CO2 emissions. They may also be interested in the applicability of the project to government offices. In some cases, they might also see the project as creating demand for more energy efficient products and services.
  • Local government may have quite similar expectations to those of central government. The project may also serve to enhance the image of the region.
  • Participating organizations are probably most interested in the benefits to themselves (reduced costs, improved public image, and improved employee commitment).
  • Equipment suppliers may be interested in testing and promoting new energy-saving products.
  • Examples: see Green Office (Finland), Energy Trophy (EU-wide)