Stakeholder analysis: the alignment, interest and influence matrix

Purpose:

  • To identify the key actors (stakeholders) who may be able to affect a policy outcome, especially whether or not they agree with the change proposed (alignment) and whether or not they are likely to take action (interest).
  • To determine how a coalition seeking to achieve change might best interact with each of the identified stakeholders.

Description: This matrix was developed to help influence policy in development settings, and is more broadly applicable. The foundation is change based on research evidence and assumes researchers will act in partnership with stakeholders both in undertaking the research and in seeking to achieve change. In determining which stakeholders are relevant and where they should be located in the matrix, researchers are usually assisted by a diverse group of advisers, who have insights into different aspects of the policy under consideration and the relevant key players. It involves a five-step process.

Step 1. Identify the main stakeholders. These may be organisations, groups or individuals.

Step 2. Map the stakeholders onto a matrix according to their level of alignment and interest (each rated high or low), based on evidence about their current behaviours (from background studies, interviews, direct knowledge, observations.) Think about the relative positioning of stakeholders in the same quadrant and record the reasons for the position allocated.

To determine alignment ask the following questions: “Do they agree with our approach? Do they agree with our assumptions? Do they want to do the same things that we think need to be done? Are they thinking what we are thinking?”

To determine interest ask the following questions: “Are they committing time and money to this issue? Do they want something to happen (whether it is for or against what we propose)? Are they going to events on the subject? Are they publicly speaking about this?

Step 3. Consider what to do, for example:
High alignment and high interest – develop an alliance or community of practice
High alignment and low interest – raise awareness of the issue and its importance
Low alignment and high interest – try to change their minds or neutralise their influence.

Step 4. Prioritise by identifying those who are most influential and accessible.

Step 5. Develop a “pathway of change” for target stakeholders, describing specific changes in behaviour that you would like to achieve.

Reference: Mendizabal, E. (2010). The Alignment, Interest and Influence Matrix (AIIM) Toolkit. Research and Policy in Development (RAPID), Overseas Development Institute (ODI): London, UK. URL: https://www.odi.org/publications/5288-stakeholder-engagement-stakeholder-analysis-aiim-alignment-interest-influence-matrix-roma

Video: A video of a workshop about the use of this tool, among others, is provided at: https://i2s.anu.edu.au/resources/seven-policy-entrepreneur-tools-policy-engagement

In this video, the following general principles are provided for Step 3:
High alignment and high interest – learn in partnership
High alignment and low interest – develop enthusiasm to address topic
Low alignment and high interest – challenge existing beliefs
Low alignment and low interest – develop awareness and enthusiasm.

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Posted: June 2016
Last modified: April 2019