Week 4 Discussion 1

“Structuring the Problem” Please respond to the following:

  • Examine Box 3.0 – Conducting a Stakeholder Analysis. Choose one (1) policy issue in the U.S. and generate a list of at least five (5) stakeholders who affect or are affected by problems in the issue area. Next, apply the procedures for a stakeholder analysis. Note: Refer to page 111 in the text for a step-by-step process.
  • From the e-Activity, provide at least two examples from the article and from your own experience of ways that worldviews, ideologies, and popular myths may have shaped the formulation of a specific problem or issue. Provide the source(s) of the paper or report you selected.



A stakeholder is a person who speaks for or represents a group that is affected by or affects a policy. Stakeholders include the president of a legislative assembly or parliament, a chairperson of a legislative committee, or an executive director or members of an organized interest or advocacy group such as the National Rifle Association, the Sierra Club, or Human Rights Watch. Policy analysts and their employers are stakeholders, as are clients who commission a policy analysis. Persons or groups who do not have a stake in a policy (e.g., an uninvolved college professor) are not stakeholders.


Stakeholders are best identified by policy issue area. A policy issue area is a domain in which stakeholders disagree or quarrel about policies Housing, welfare, education, and international securiy are policy issue areas.

Stakeholders have specific names and titles—for example, State Senator Xanadi; Mr. Young, chairperson of the House Finance Committee; or Ms. Ziegler, a spokesperson for the National Organization of Women (NOW).

A sociometric or “snowball” sample such as that described next is an effective way to estimate the “population” of stakeholders.

STEP 1: Using Google or a reference book such as The Encyclopedia of Associations, identify and list about ten stakeholders who have taken a public position on a policy. Make the initial list as heterogeneous as possible by sampling opponents as well as supporters.
STEP 2: For each stakeholder, obtain a policy document (e.g., a report, news article, e-mail, or telephone interview) that describes the position of each stakeholder.
STEP 3: Beginning with the first statement of the first stakeholder, list other stakeholders mentioned as opponents or proponents of the policy.
STEP 4: For each remaining statement, list the new stakeholders mentioned. Do not repeat.
STEP 5: Draw a graph that displays statements 1, 2, … n on the horizontal axis. On the vertical axis, display the cumulative frequency of new stakeholders mentioned in the statements. The graph will gradually flatten out, with no new stakeholders mentioned. If this does not occur before reaching the last stakeholder on the initial list, repeat steps 2 to 4. Add to the graph the new statements and the new stakeholders.
STEP 6: Add to the estimate stakeholders who should be included because of their formal positions (organization charts show such positions) or because they are involved in one or more policy-making activities: agenda setting, policy formulation, policy adoption, policy implementation, policy evaluation, and policy adaptation, succession or termination.

Retain the full list for further analysis. You now have an estimate of the “population” of key stakeholders who are affected by and affect the policy, along with a description of their positions on an issue. This is a good basis for structuring the problem.