author image

By Denis G.

3 minutes

Salience Model

A stakeholder is defined as anyone with an interest in your project or program. They may be working directly on the project, or have their interests impacted positively or negatively by the project. The bigger that project you’re responsible for, and the more complex the organization in which you’re working, the more attention you should pay to stakeholder management. You can project manage the execution of your project perfectly, but failure to manage the expectations of a powerful stakeholder can result in your project being perceived as a failure.

A problem facing project managers, especially in large projects, is how to communicate effectively with all the different stakeholders, who all have competing communication needs that they expect you, as the project manager, to fulfil. The Salience Model attempts to solve this problem by categorizing stakeholders according to their prominence. It works by rankingh stakeholders according to their power, legitimacy, and urgency.

  • Power: to influence the project deliverables or the organization
  • Legitimacy: of their interaction with the project and it’s appropriateness
  • Urgency: of their communication requirements

These categories overlap, and we acknowledge this by placing our stakeholders into the following Venn diagram:

Salience Model Venn Diagram

As you can see, we have 7 categories of stakeholders in total (excluding non-stakeholders). We can write these groups in order of there prominence and the amount of attention you need to give each type of stakeholder as follows:

Prominance and Attention Diagram

The classes of stakeholder which need special attention are those that overlap in the Venn diagram – 4, 5, 6 and 7. Class 4 (Dominant) stakeholders not only have the power but also have a legitimate claim for communication and thus their needs should be taken into account. Class 5 (Dangerous) stakeholders have the power, the need for time critical updates, but not the legitimacy. You need to pay special attention to these stakeholders and their needs as they could be dangerous to your project otherwise, possibly using their power and influence to build a concensus perception that your project is a failure. Class 6 (Dependent) stakeholders have the urgency and legitimacy but not the power – perhaps these stakeholders are part of your project team. These need to be kept informed. Their urgency and legitimacy can be a great asset to the project.

Class 7 (Definitive) stakeholders are the most important of all. They have the power, the right to demand urgency from you or the organization, and the legitimacy to demand the communication.

As a final note, remember that the different classes of stakeholder can be gained or lost over time, they are not static, so you may need to change how you communicate with different stakeholders as the project progresses.

Cite this article

Minute Tools Content Team, Salience Model, Minute Tools, Oct, 2010,
Click to copy
author image

Denis G.

Originally hailing from Dublin, Denis has always been interested in all things business and started EPM in 2009. Before EPM, Denis held a leadership position at Nokia, owned a sports statistics business, and was a member of the PMI's (Project Management Institute’s) Global Executive Council for two years. Denis now spends his days helping others understand complex business topics.

How useful was this post?

Click on a star to rate it!

Average rating 0 / 5. Vote count: 0

No votes so far! Be the first to rate this post.

cta image

In our course you will learn how to:

This 5-week course will teach you everything you need to know to set up and then scale a small, part-time business that will be profitable regardless of what’s happening in the economy.

So if you’ve always wanted to be your own boss and have the flexibility and freedom that entails, then…

Do your future self a favor and check out our course designed to help you achieve exactly that.

Learn more about our course