Internal Stakeholders and External Stakeholders

Organizations have various stakeholders which must be taken into account to ensure the success and sustainability of the business.

Internal stakeholders are stakeholders who are within the organization such as employees, management and shareholders.

External stakeholders are stakeholders who are affected by organization or affect organization but are not part of the organizations. Examples of external stakeholders are customers, labor unions, suppliers, the community, media, potential customers and the federal, state/provincial or local government.

Stakeholders can also be primary, secondary and marginal. Primary stakeholders significantly affect the organization or are severely affected by the organization. Examples of primary stakeholders are employees and customers. Secondary stakeholders are generally less affected or have a smaller affect on the organization. Examples of secondary stakeholders can be media and government. Marginal stakeholders have the least affect or are least affected by the organization. Examples of marginal stakeholders can be the community which is almost not affected by organization at all.

Categorization of primary, secondary and marginal stakeholders can alter based on a specific situation. For example, if environmentally irresponsible actions of organizations lead to significant pollution of the environment and nearby communities experience negative externalities as a result than we can say that the community is no longer a marginal stakeholder but a primary stakeholder. This is especially true should the community choose to react.

Stakeholders can also be categorized into current (traditional) and future. Current stakeholders include all stakeholders which currently affect or are affected by the organization. Examples are employees and customers. Future stakeholders are stakeholders whom are likely to be affected or affect the organization in the future. Examples of future stakeholders are students and potential customers.

Further, the attitudes of stakeholders can be the basis for further categorization. Some stakeholders agree with actions of the organization and can be labeled proponents. Some stakeholders disagree with actions of the organization and can be labeled opponents. And some stakeholders are unconcerned with actions of the organization and can be labeled indifferent.

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