Business stakeholders

A stakeholder is any person, group of people or other organisation that has an interest in the activities of a business.

Businesses need to be aware of their stakeholders, as many of them will be affected by its activities. Stakeholders can also influence the decisions that a business makes.

Internal and external stakeholders

Internal stakeholders work within a business, either making decisions or carrying them out. External stakeholders do not work within a business but are affected by its activities.

There are eight main types of stakeholder:

StakeholderDefinition
Shareholders and ownersIn a public limited company (PLC), these are people who influence the business’ aims, objectives and strategic activities. In a limited company (LTD), these are people who make business decisions but need to agree them with the other shareholders. Shareholders are part owners of a private or public limited company.
ManagersStaff who are responsible for implementing the decisions made by the owners and overseeing the work that is required.
EmployeesStaff who carry out the day-to-day work of the business.
CustomersPeople who buy products or services from the business.
SuppliersOther businesses and organisations that provide products or services to the business, eg a utility company that supplies it with electricity, or a business that provides the seats used when producing a car.
Local communityPeople, organisations and businesses that live or are located in the area around the business.
Pressure groupsGroups of people who share a common interest that is related to the business, eg an environmental pressure group may actively promote a shared interest.
GovernmentThe business will make tax payments to both local and central government.
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It is important to distinguish between a stakeholder and a shareholder. Shareholders hold shares in a business, which means they own part of it and stakeholders have an interest in a business but do not own it (unless they are also shareholders).
Airline business' internal stakeholders, shareholders, managers and employees and external stakeholders customers, community, suppliers, pressure groups and government.