Internal Stakeholders

Internal Stakeholders are groups or individuals who work within an organization or project.

Who are Internal Stakeholders?

Stakeholders are any groups or individuals who can affect or are affected by an organization, strategy or project. They can be internal or external and they can be at senior or junior levels.

According to Nilson (2006: p170), internal stakeholders are those in the management, marketing experts, designers, purchasing, manufacturing, assembly and sales, while external stakeholders are the users/customers, distributors, governments, suppliers, communities, laws and regulations. (Karim, et al., 2007, pp.8).
internal stakeholders
Download this Internal Stakeholder Map

MindMap of Internal Stakeholders

This is a free mindmap you can use as a starting point for identifying your Internal Stakeholders.

Why do you need to identify your Internal Stakeholders?

Internal stakeholders are key to success, as Gary Heerkens points out:
One thing that makes internal stakeholders particularly important is that the perceived success of your project [business/strategy/department] is often judged by the perceived satisfaction of internal stakeholders. (Heerkens, 2013)
Finding and engaging with your internal stakeholders is also crucial to making things happen. Rivenburgh (2013) points out that no company can implement the most impelling strategy without the involvement of its employees. Engaging with internal stakeholders is essential because:
"Highly engaged employees always go beyond mere compliance with organizational expectations. They strive to exceed expectations." (Rivenburgh, 2013).
Because internal stakeholders do the work and their satisfaction is often given greatest importance in judging the success of a strategy or project, stakeholder managers need to make sure that they identify all internal stakeholders. The obvious first step is to look within the immediate team, department and line of business then cast the net wider looking at all of the people or groups that you connect with during your project.

Tips for identifying internal stakeholders

We suggest starting to search for internal stakeholders by following the steps below.
  1. Check your company organization chart, look at levels above, below and on the same level as you and your project team.
  2. Run through the project phases* list out people and teams involved in each phase
  3. View your company on LinkedIn looking at your colleagues and their connections
*Example shown below.

A good cross check that you have identified all internal stakeholders is to run through the phases of your project and think about who will affect or be affected within each project phase. An example for a web and SaaS project is shown below.

Identify the internal stakeholders involved in each phase of a project

Start up Initiation Build Test Close
Board/Senior Management
Sales team
Project team
Project team line managers
Project Office/Support functions
Tech support functions e.g. networking, security, facilities
Content creators
System Architect
Subject Matter Experts
Quality Assurance
Test team
Product management (bugs)
Newsletter team
PR team
Managed services
Renewals team
Compliance team

Following the steps above will ensure that you identify the most important Stakeholders. You can then check your list against these lists drawn up for different types or organizations and projects:

Download a template for mapping internal stakeholders

PowerPoint download - Internal Stakeholder Mapping template

PDF download - Internal Stakeholder Mapping template

MindMap download - Internal Stakeholders

Internal Stakeholders - references and further reading

Heerkens, G (2013). Project Management, 2nd Edition, McGraw-Hill Education.

Nilson P & Fagerstrom B (2006). Managing Stakeholder Requirements in a Product Modelling System, Computers in Industry, 57:167;177. Available at: Accessed 07 February 2023.

Saipol Bari Abd Karim, Hamzah Abdul Rahman, Mohamed Ali Berawi, Aini Jaapar (2007). A review of the issues and strategies of stakeholder management in the construction industry, Management in Construction and Researchers Association (MICRA), Meetings and Conference, 28_29 Aug 2007, Shah Alam, Selangor, Malaysia. Available at: Accessed 04 February 2015.

Stakeholder Management resources

Stakeholder analysis templates in Word, Visio and Excel.

Stakeholder Management ebook

Happy Stakeholders - Pleasure and Displeasure List

Stakeholders - who are the Key Players? - Some Stakeholders are really important. How do you find them and get them on your side before they can do any damage?

Project stakeholders - typical stakeholders on a project

Stakeholder mindmap - a mindmap showing Stakeholders for an IT project.

Stakeholder Salience - an overview of the stakeholder salience model.