Mendelow Stakeholder Matrix

The Mendelow stakeholder matrix is a framework used to analyze stakeholder attitudes and expectations and their potential impact on business decisions.

Stakeholder CategoryDescriptionImplicationsExamples
High Power, High Interest (Key Players)Stakeholders with significant influence over the project or organization and a high level of interest.Engage closely with these stakeholders, collaborate, and actively manage their expectations.Major shareholders, senior executives, key customers.
High Power, Low InterestStakeholders with significant influence but relatively low interest in the project or organization.Keep them informed, address concerns as they arise, and monitor their interest levels.Regulatory agencies, industry associations.
Low Power, High InterestStakeholders with limited influence but a high level of interest in the project or organization.Keep them satisfied, engage them when necessary, and address their concerns proactively.Frontline employees, local communities, specialized interest groups.
Low Power, Low Interest (Minimal Effort)Stakeholders with limited influence and low interest.Monitor their concerns passively, provide basic information, and avoid over-investing resources.Vendors, casual customers, general public.

Understanding the Mendelow stakeholder matrix

The Mendelow stakeholder matrix was created in 1991 by Aubrey L. Mendelow as a relatively simple way to manage stakeholders during a project.

The ability to manage stakeholders is critical to the project’s success.

However, any project manager will know how complicated it can be to juggle the various competing interests of stakeholders simultaneously.

Since these interests are often contradictory, they can cause conflict, disharmony, and a loss of productivity.

To balance the conflicting priorities of stakeholders, the Mendelow matrix analyzes their attitudes across two key variables:


Defined as the ability of a stakeholder to coerce, induce, or persuade another group to take a specific course of action.


Or the likelihood that a stakeholder will be motivated to exert their power to have their needs met.

Interest can sometimes be more difficult to quantify and is context specific.

The four categories of Mendelow’s matrix

The Mendelow matrix is divided into four categories with stakeholder interest (low to high) on the x-axis and stakeholder power (low to high) on the y-axis.

Let’s take a look at the four combinations below:

Low priority (low power, low interest)

These are stakeholders with the lowest ability to impact a project and, in any case, are not interested in doing so.

There is less of a need to inform or engage with this group but it should be monitored in case circumstances change.

These stakeholders are usually local groups, suppliers, or members of the community.

While these stakeholders may not require significant attention, it is still important to monitor their interests and engage with them as needed to maintain a positive relationship.

Keep informed (low power, high interest)

It is important to keep these stakeholders in the loop to ensure there are no concerns that could become major problems later.

While this group has low power, a high level of interest means they may lobby a more powerful group to have their needs met. In other words, they may be directly affected by the organization’s actions or decisions but not have the authority to influence those decisions.

Employees often fall into this category, as do other stakeholders such as customers and local communities. 

These stakeholders may not have the power to directly impact decisions, but their support and engagement can be valuable for the brand’s reputation and also the organization’s long-term viability.

Keep satisfied (high power, low interest)

Despite their low interest, these stakeholders need to be kept informed/satisfied for various reasons.

They tend to be powerful organizations such as banks, governments, law enforcement, insurance companies, and other regulatory bodies.

Other stakeholders to fall in this quadrant include trade associations and any other entities that can yield power over an industry if required.

While such stakeholders may not be actively engaged with (or even interested in) the company’s day-to-day operations, they must be kept informed and involved because of their ability to exert power.

Key players (high power, high interest)

These are stakeholders that need to be managed closely to ensure they are fully engaged with the project. With high power and high interest, it is these stakeholders that tend to be the most influential. 

They comprise directors, upper management, and investors who are actively involved in decision-making and have the power to terminate a project if dissatisfied.

Further examples of stakeholders in this quadrant include major shareholders, government regulators, and customers with large accounts. 

Managing relationships with these stakeholders is critical for the company’s success since their support and cooperation substantially influences outcomes.

Mendelow matrix best practices

With the various stakeholder groups identified, project managers can devise tailored plans to better manage communications while endeavoring to keep each satisfied.

Remember that stakeholders may shift between quadrants without warning – particularly if specific needs or conditions are not met.

A project that fails to meet strict environmental standards, for example, may see the government move from the “Keep satisfied” (high power, low interest) to the “Key player” (high power, high interest) if it intends to impose sanctions.

Advantages of Mendelow stakeholder matrix

To conclude, let’s take a look at a couple of the advantages and disadvantages of the matrix.


The matrix is a tool that offers clarity on how organizations should manage different stakeholders. It helps them identify which stakeholders require immediate attention and engagement, and which are lower priority and can be managed with less effort. 

By clearly categorizing stakeholders into different quadrants, organizations can tailor their communication, engagement, and relationship-building strategies accordingly.

Decision-making guidance

Mendelow’s matrix can also be a valuable tool that supports organizational decision-making processes. By understanding the power and interest of stakeholders, practitioners can make more informed decisions about how to engage with different groups. 

For example, stakeholders in the high power and high interest quadrant may require more consultation and involvement, while stakeholders with low power and low interest likely require less attention. 

Disadvantages of Mendelow stakeholder matrix


While the simplicity of the matrix can be an asset to a company that wants to easily determine stakeholder power, this trait can also be a drawback.

Stakeholder relationships are often complex and multidimensional and cannot always be accurately captured by a two-dimensional matrix with four quadrants. It is also important to note that stakeholder power and interest can be dynamic and fluctuate over time.

Their relationships with an organization may also be influenced by numerous other factors such as values, emotions, and historical interactions. Thus, relying solely on the Mendelow matrix may result in oversimplification and a lack of nuance in understanding stakeholder dynamics.


Power and interest can sometimes be nebulous concepts, which means that assessing these traits for various stakeholders is open to interpretation.

Different stakeholders may perceive their own power and interest differently, and the same can also be said for companies.

Subjectivity can lead to inconsistencies and biases in categorizing stakeholders into the Mendelow matrix. In some cases, this may cause the business to choose an inappropriate stakeholder strategy.

Key takeaways

  • The Mendelow stakeholder matrix is a framework used to analyze stakeholder attitudes and expectations and their potential impact on business decisions.
  • The Mendelow stakeholder matrix analyzes attitudes across two key variables: power and interest. Power is the ability of a stakeholder to influence the actions of others, while interest is defined as the likelihood of using that power.
  • Mendelow’s matrix illustrates varying degrees of power and interest in quadrants that represent different stakeholder groups. These groups are low priority, keep informed, keep satisfied, and key players.

Key Highlights

  • Purpose of the Matrix:
    • The Mendelow stakeholder matrix, developed by Aubrey L. Mendelow in 1991, is a tool used to analyze stakeholder attitudes, expectations, and potential impact on business decisions.
  • Importance of Managing Stakeholders:
    • Effective stakeholder management is crucial for project success, but it can be complex due to conflicting interests. The matrix aids in managing stakeholder relationships.
  • Two Key Variables:
    • The matrix evaluates stakeholders based on two variables: power and interest.
      • Power: The ability of a stakeholder to influence, coerce, or persuade others.
      • Interest: The likelihood that a stakeholder will use their power to address their needs.
  • Four Categories in the Matrix:
    • The matrix is divided into four quadrants based on stakeholder power and interest:
      • Low Priority (Low Power, Low Interest)
      • Keep Informed (Low Power, High Interest)
      • Keep Satisfied (High Power, Low Interest)
      • Key Players (High Power, High Interest)
  • Stakeholder Categories Explained:
    • Each quadrant corresponds to different stakeholder groups and how they should be managed:
      • Low Priority: Not impactful or interested stakeholders, but still monitored.
      • Keep Informed: Low power but high interest stakeholders who may influence powerful groups.
      • Keep Satisfied: High power stakeholders with low interest, requiring information to maintain a positive relationship.
      • Key Players: High power and high interest stakeholders with significant influence on outcomes.
  • Adapting Strategies:
    • Organizations should tailor their communication, engagement, and relationship-building strategies based on stakeholder placement in the matrix.
  • Advantages of the Matrix:
    • Clarity: The matrix offers clarity in managing stakeholders by categorizing them into different quadrants, guiding appropriate engagement efforts.
    • Decision-Making Guidance: The matrix aids decision-making by suggesting how to engage with stakeholders based on their power and interest levels.
  • Disadvantages of the Matrix:
    • Simplistic: The matrix’s simplicity can oversimplify complex stakeholder relationships, lacking nuance in understanding dynamics.
    • Subjectivity: Assessing power and interest can be subjective, leading to inconsistencies and biases in stakeholder categorization.

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