Agencies, organisations, groups, or individuals who have a direct or indirect interest in a policy intervention or its evaluation.
(OECD, 2002, p. 35.)
It is sometimes useful to use categories to distinguish between different types of stakeholders. An important distinction that is often made is between "primary" stakeholders and "secondary" stakeholders.
Usually, when these distinctions are made, the term primary stakeholders is used to refer to stakeholders who will be directly or ultimately affected by an intervention, either positively or negatively. The term secondary stakeholders is used to refer to the intermediaries who are involved in a policy or intervention. Secondary stakeholders are intermediaries such as implementing organisations, or other individuals, persons, groups or institutions involved in a policy intervention. In the case of international development, funders are usually considered secondary stakeholders.
A further category that is often useful is that between "key" stakeholders and others. Freeman describes key stakeholders as: "those of the primary and secondary stakeholders who can significantly affect or influence an intervention either positively or negatively."
The inclusion of stakeholders in the policy process is increasingly recognized as an essential component of effective policymaking in several different areas of policy. This is referred to as "stakeholder participation." Freeman defines stakeholder participation as: "a process whereby those with rights and/or interests play an active role in decision-making and in the consequent activities which affect them."
Freeman, T., M. Barahona, A. Bonde, S. Forti, B. Mikkelsen, and G. Salinas (2002). “Mainstreaming Gender Equality. Sida's support for the promotion of gender equality in partner countries”, Country Report for Nicaragua. Evaluation Report 02/01:2. Swedish International Cooperation Agency, Stockholm. Retrieved on June 25, 2008, from http://www.sida.se/sida/jsp/sida.jsp?d=118&a=2359&language=en_US&searchWords=nicaragua.
Approved for glossaryposting by Ben Eisen on January 8, 2011