Online Foresight Guide

A stakeholder is anybody with an interest or stake in what an organisation does. In the case of a Foresight exercise, this includes all the participants in the exercise and anyone else who may have an interest in, or be affected by, the outcome.

Although originally a stakeholder was a person who holds money or other property while its owner is being determined, in the last decades of the 20th century, the word "stakeholder" has evolved into a term of art in the field of business management in general, and Foresight in particular. In discussing the decision-making process for institutions -- including corporations, government agencies and non-profit organisations -- the concept has been broadened to include everyone with an interest (or "stake") in what the entity does. That includes not only its vendors, employees, and customers, but also members of the community where its offices or factory may affect the local economy or environment.

A major debate is ongoing about the extend to which these institutions should be managed for stakeholders as a whole (rather than just for shareholders or customers). This debate is also relevant in the case of Foresight activities.

See also: Stakeholder Profiling

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