Actor, network or stakeholder analyses


Use for

Determining which actors you need to concentrate on.


Producing a good ‘social map' of the environment enables you to identify which actors you need to concentrate on.

What do you do?

You produce a ‘social map' containing information about the parties in the environment of a project or programme. A tip for the first step in producing a social map might be to break down the actors into the categories technology, science, users and regulators. For a technology-driven project or programme, this will produce at least an initial useful classification. Another starting point could be a general classification arranged by civil-society organisations, government, business, the academic community and the public. Alternatively, you could start with one or more key actors and make a map of their environment. For example, the organisers of an innovation project concerning telecommunication in the care sector started with the client. They then explored who the client had contact with and proceeded from there. In this way, the transition professionals produced a social map that included the general practitioner, the pharmacist, district nurse, neighbours, family and all the groups or organisations around them.

Drawing up a list of relevant actors is only the first step in a transition project. You will also have to explore the nature of their involvement and their views. This analysis can be superficial or in-depth. For example, a superficial assessment of commitment would be to identify actors with a positive interest, a negative interest or a neutral attitude. For an in-depth analysis, you would explore their views on the problem, the vision, their criteria for solutions and their proposed solutions. An in-depth actor analysis shows you what scope there is for innovation. On this point, see also the methods ‘Action theory', ‘Cognition model' or ‘ESTEEM'.


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More information

  • Laat, B de (1997). Scripts for the future. Technology foresight, strategic evaluation and socio-technical networks: the confrontation of script-based scenarios. Thesis. Universiteit van Amsterdam: Amsterdam.
  • Mierlo, B. van et al. (2010). Reflexive monitoring in action. A guide for monitoring system innovation projects. Boxpress: Oisterwijk.
  • Or look at internet, with search term actor analysis, stakeholder analysis or network analysis.

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