Stakeholders in Business: Meaning, Types, Roles, Differences & Examples
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29 JANUARY, 2024

Stakeholder is a common term used quite frequently in corporate organisations and businesses. But who are the stakeholders? These individuals play essential roles that significantly impact outcomes. They possess a significant interest in a company and have the potential to influence or be influenced by the business's activities and results. In this blog, we will discuss stakeholder meaning, its types, and importance in business, and examples.

Who Is a Stakeholder?

A stakeholder is an individual or group with a certain interest in a company, capable of influencing or being influenced by its actions. Examples of a corporation's key stakeholders include investors, employees, customers, and suppliers. These parties are connected to the company and can be significantly affected by its decisions and overall performance.

Meaning and Importance of Stakeholders in Business

In business, it is anyone with a vested interest in a company's affairs and capable of influencing or being influenced by its operations. They can be internal, like employees and owners, and external, like suppliers and public groups.

Internal stakeholders maintain a direct relationship, generally through employment or ownership, while the company's actions impact external stakeholders. Recognising the varied interests of stakeholders is essential for effective business management, enhancing collaboration, and ensuring sustained success in the future.

Types of Stakeholders

Stakeholders are majorly divided into internal and external categories. Here are the various types of stakeholders in a business:

Internal Stakeholders

  • Employees

Employees are one of the primary stakeholders of a company, having a direct stake in the company, earning income and experiencing safety concerns, especially in the transportation, mining, and construction industries.

  • Investors

Investors are considered to be the primary stakeholders in a business. These include shareholders and debtholders seeking financial investment returns. Shareholders focus on shareholder value, representing a significant stake in the business.

External Stakeholders

  • Customers

Customers are important stakeholders impacted by the quality and value of products or services. For example, airline passengers entrust their lives to the company during flights. Suppliers and Vendors

Suppliers and vendors depend on the business for revenue and may also have safety concerns, particularly in industries directly involving their operations.

  • Communities

Local communities are also significant stakeholders impacted by job creation, economic development, and health and safety factors. Company decisions affect employment, income, and spending in the area.

  • Governments

Governments are significant stakeholders, from collecting taxes and corporate income to payroll taxes, contributing to the country's overall Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

Why Are Stakeholders Important?

Stakeholders in a business are very valuable to the corporation and the business as a whole. They affect the working patterns of a company both internally and externally, along with other key metrics. Here’s how stakeholders are important:

  • Internal Collaboration

Effective collaboration among internal stakeholders, such as employees and management, is essential for the company's day-to-day operations. Their coordinated efforts toward common goals contribute significantly to the business's overall success.

  • External Influence

External stakeholders indirectly influence the business, including customers, suppliers, and governments. Changes in buying habits, manufacturing practices, or regulatory modifications can impact the company's operations and demand adaptability.

  • Adaptability and Success

Adapting to the dynamics of various stakeholders is helpful for the business's long-term success. Managing relationships with both internal and external stakeholders ensures resilience and adaptability in a dynamic business environment.

  • Operational Harmony

Operational harmony is enhanced through coordinated efforts with stakeholders. Efficient collaboration with internal and external parties contributes to the business's overall success by maintaining streamlined operations.

Examples of Stakeholders

Consider a scenario where a business faces bankruptcy, which demands structured planning to determine the repayment order to various stakeholders for their capital investments. The prioritised sequence includes secured creditors, followed by unsecured creditors, preferred shareholders, and, eventually, common stock owners, who may receive minimal compensation, if any.

Say, for example, the potential layoff of workers without salary during the company's bankruptcy. It explains a systematic order in which different stakeholders are compensated, highlighting the variability in treatment and roles during challenging business situations. This example underscores the unequal status and privileges among stakeholders.

Primary Stakeholders: Their Role and Impact

Stakeholders, be they individuals, groups, or entities, play key roles in businesses. Primary stakeholders, are those whose investments significantly impact a company's daily operations and decisions. They can be either internal or external, including directors, managers, employees, lenders, suppliers, and customers.

Primary stakeholders are the essential aspects of a company and the business dynamics. Their significance goes beyond just a mere investment as they shape a company's financial and operational landscape.

Internal stakeholders like managers and employees take care of the day-to-day operations, contributing expertise and effort. On the other hand, external stakeholders hold significant roles by fueling financial stability, supplying essential resources, and driving profits through purchases.

Their collective efforts extend beyond financial contributions, influencing critical decisions that navigate businesses through the dynamic landscape of challenges and opportunities, making them indispensable foundations of a business.

Stakeholders vs. Shareholders





Stakeholders are invested in a long-term commitment to the company's success.

Shareholders are primarily involved in the financial aspect of the business, seeking returns on investment.


The duration for stakeholders is generally a long-term relationship with ongoing involvement.

Shareholders can buy or sell stock, thus implying a less enduring commitment.


Stakeholders are affected by the overall company’s health, operations, and financial management.

Shareholders are tied to stock value and dividends, which define the company's finances.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1.)What are the stakeholders in a business?

Stakeholders in a business comprise investors, employees, customers, suppliers, and the community, each with a vested interest in the company's success and operations.

2.)Are stakeholders and shareholders the same?

No, stakeholders and shareholders differ as stakeholders encompass a broader range, while shareholders specifically own shares in the company.

3.)What distinguishes primary stakeholders from other types of stakeholders?

Primary stakeholders directly invest in a business, whether internal or external, having a significant influence on daily operations.

4.)What are the specific roles and responsibilities of stakeholders in a company?

The various roles of stakeholders vary as per their type. For example- lenders provide funds, suppliers contribute goods, and employees offer labour, each playing a key role in the company's function.

5.)How can stakeholders impact a company's decision-making processes?

Stakeholders impact decisions through financial, operational, or social interests, contributing to the company's choices and decision-making processes.

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