The question was recently posted… “What’s the best way to determine my Interested Parties?
”There are many ways of accomplishing this but one tried and true method is an Interested Party Analysis.
Identification of an Interested Party’s expectations is an essential part of developing a compliant QMS. A common method of determining this is with an Interested Party Matrix – where the Interested Party is plotted against two variables. These variables might be plotting the level of ‘stake’ in the outcomes of the organization against ‘resources’ of the Interested Party. Another is the ‘importance’ of the Interested Party against the ‘influence’ of the Interested Party.
The concept is the same, though the emphasis is slightly different.
Boxes A, B and C identify the key Interested Parties. The implications of each box is summarized below:
These are Interested Parties appearing to have a high degree of influence on the organization, who are also of high importance for its success. This implies that in the implementing of the QMS the organization will need to construct good working relationships with these Interested Parties, to ensure an effective coalition of support for the company. Examples might be the senior local officials and politicians or trade unions.
These are Interested Parties of high importance to the success of the organization, but with low influence. This implies that they will require special initiatives if their interests are to be protected. An example may be traditionally marginalized groups (e.g. Indigenous people, youths, seniors), who might be beneficiaries of a new service, but who have little ‘voice’ in its development.
These are Interested Parties with high influence, who can therefore affect organizational outcomes, but whose interests are not necessarily aligned with the overall goals of the company. They might be financial administrators, who can exercise considerable discretion over funding disbursements. This conclusion implies that these Interested Parties may be a source of significant risk, and they will need careful monitoring and management.
The Interested Parties in this box, with low influence on, or importance to the organizational objectives, may require limited monitoring or evaluation, but are of low priority.
To provide a clearer understanding of Interested Parties and, as a result, provide insights as to how best to engage them.
Use for the QMS either in the early stages, or with a group developing an Interested Party plan.
All analytical tools are only models. The tool is dependent on subjective data, and will vary according to the person and situation being used. It should probably not be a public document.
1. Make a list of all Interested Parties.
2. Write the name of each Interested Party on a post-it note or index card.
3. Rank the Interested Parties on a scale of one to five, according to one of the criteria on the matrix, such as ‘interest in the organizational objectives’ or ‘interest in the financial success’.
4. Keeping this ranking for one of the criteria, plot the Interested Parties against the other criteria of the matrix. This is where using post-it notes or removable cards are useful.
5. Ask the following questions:
Are there any surprises?
Which Interested Parties do we have the most/least contact with?
Which Interested Parties might we have to make special efforts to ensure engagement?
And there you have it… Hope this helps.