power interest grid

The history and science behind the power interest grid

Stakeholders come in all shapes and sizes this is why there are tons of articles and books about stakeholder theory. Most of the theories are usually credited to Freeman, who is known as the father of stakeholder theory. One of the techniques that are popular in stakeholder theory is the Power Interest Grid. In this article, we will talk about It along with its history and science behind it.

The Start of the Power Interest Grid

Knowing the stakeholders and other important aspects is crucial. This allows you to analyze and understand them. As a result, you can create proper strategies and learn how to engage with them. In order to do that, you need to put effort and generate the desired buy-in. As a result, you will be able to spend your time wisely. To achieve all of this, a stakeholder analysis technique was originally introduced by Collin Eden and Fran Ackerman. They mentioned this technique called Power Interest Grid in their book called Making Strategy. However, the stakeholder concept and its theory can be traced back as far back as the 1960s. The word “stakeholder” appeared for the first time at the Stanford Research Institute in1962.  After that, a bunch of other related definitions and theories were developed in 1971.

In another instance, Hein Kroos and his partner Klaus Schwab released a booklet, “Modern Enterprise Management in Mechanical Engineering”. This book argues that the management of modern enterprises should cover all stakeholders and not only shareholders. They made this argument to resolve the lack of long-term achievements and prosperity. However, it became a dispute in 1983 when Ian Mitroff published his book. The information was not once put as a reference by R Edward Freeman in his article on Stakeholder theory. 

What is Power Interest Grid?

Following a concrete-based technique to figure out or determine the desired outcome is always a great choice. Power Interest Grid is one of those phenomena that is used in the world of Stakeholder Management. It is a technique that categorizes all the stakeholders based on certain criteria. Now, what are these criteria? Every stakeholder has different power, influence, and interest in a project. This comes with a lot of research and background checks of the stakeholders to perform the technique. As a result, it is mandatory to check all the information about the stakeholders who are interested in the project. You can check Stake holder’s documents, the current state of the stakeholder, and its “to be” process map. In addition, you get valuable information by talking to the stakeholders themselves.

After obtaining all the information about the stakeholders, you can perform to categorize them as stakeholders effectively. After categorizing the stakeholders, you will achieve data that helps you develop strategies. Moreover, performing Power Interest Grid also helps you manage the stakeholders properly. In addition to managing, you can also create a stakeholder communication plan. 

The communication plan is broken down into two types. First, the group that needs regular engagement, and second, the type that requires less communication. High-power and high-interest stakeholders are the ones that need constant engagement. On the other hand, low-power and low-interest stakeholders require fewer resources and regular communication. However, keep in mind that you should not ignore those stakeholders that are low interest and low power. They can change or increase their mind when approached with effective strategies and planning. 

How do you create a power interest grid in Excel?

You can create a power interest grid from scratch or by using the template from OffiDocs. Simply download the template from this site and open it with Excel. An appropriately divided grid is what you need to start creating a power interest grid. Place the stakeholders in their respective sections of the grid. Moreover, keep in mind that you should place the stakeholders where they belong currently. Do not place them where they could be in the grid. Once you put all the stakeholders in their appropriate position, you can start managing them. On top of that, you will also know in which category they fall.

The amount of detail you will need in the project will also determine the complexity with which you will fill the grid. This detailing and its complexity are usually determined by the number of categories you will put in the power interest grid. For instance, you can use more than four or just four categories in your grid. Four categories are the most common amount when it comes to such a power interest grid. These categories are usually “Keep Informed”, “Maintain Interset”, “Actively Consult,” and “Regularly Engage”. 

The properties of the four categories are as follow:

  • They have an X axis and Y Axis for power and interest, respectively
  • The grid is split equally into four categories.  

The science behind The Power Interest Grid

The grid in the power interest grid is to differentiate the level of power and interest of the stakeholders. The grid determines the stakeholder’s low or high interest in your product. Moreover, it also determines their low or high power. If the product has positive effects individually, then chances are that stakeholders will have high interest. High-powered is developed when a feature of the product can influence the stakeholder’s decision.

You have to take the following groups in low and high power and interest results:

  • Players
  • Subjects
  • Context Setters
  • Crowd

Each group in the quadrants requires attention and different engagement form.

Stakeholders that come into the grid of high interest and high power are called players. You have to be closely collaborating with them as the product owner. The collaboration can take place in making strategies and road mapping workshops. 

High interests with low power are known as subjects. They are influenced by the product, but they cannot change their decision. After that, there are Context setters that are low-interest but high power. They may not have the motivation to achieve great things for the product but will indulge in providing decisions. Lastly, there is a Crowd which is those stakeholders that have low interest and low power. You should only keep them updated by giving them a wiki web of the product or through newsletters. 


Categorizing the stakeholders is one of the foundations of every successful business plan. In this way, you can analyze, research, prepare strategies and improve your product. More importantly, stakeholder management strategies are developed with the help of the Power Interest Grid. Now, if you want to create a compelling Power Interest Grid, you know how you can do it.  

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