Penstock Hall Farm, Canterbury Road, Brabourne, Kent, TN25 5LL

Stakeholder Participation Glossary

Stakeholder Participation Glossary

We have put together a glossary of terms and definitions around stakeholder participation and stakeholder engagement. Hopefully anyone working with stakeholders – no matter if they are new to the process or are experienced facilitators  already – will find this summary useful for reference.



Actors The term used by some social scientists, and other EU countries, to describe stakeholders
Adversarial decision making Used to describe decision-making where different parties take up negotiating positions and use argument to secure their own interests.  Outcomes are win/lose with the most powerful party winning.  The term adversarial is not used to describe unpleasant behaviour but the stance of seeing the other party as an adversary and competitor
CEPA ‘Communication, Education and Public Awareness’, or: ‘Communication, Education, Participation and Awareness’.   This acronym is used by the Ramsar, CBD, and Climate Change Conventions and the IUCN.   CEPA is a policy driver for processes that ‘motivate and mobilise individual and collective action towards sustainable use and management’. It is the tool to ‘generate interaction and ensure participation of major stakeholders from different sectors’
Conflict management A term used to describe a stakeholder dialogue which is aiming to resolve conflict  – or at least reduce and manage it
Consensus Building The process of moving towards acceptable decisions.  The term was used to describe processes now called stakeholder dialogue, but it began to lose meaning when it was used to describe any meeting where people wanted to find agreement
Co-design, co-production and co-creation The difference between co-design and coproduction is that co-design addresses the problem and a solution is identified whereas co-production embeds the solution into reality. Co-creation is identified as the way in which both of these are addressed. (McDougall, 2012)
“This approach goes beyond consultation by building and deepening equal collaboration between citizens affected by, or attempting to, resolve a particular challenge. A key tenet of co-design is that users, as ‘experts’ of their own experience, become central to the design process.” – John Chisholm, Senior Research Associate, Design Management, Lancaster University
Consensus A decision that all can live with and many support. In this context consensus does not mean everyone agrees about everything – but it does mean that having wrestled with the issues and potential solutions people reach a conclusion they can accept as the best way forward.
Consultation A process of engaging stakeholders but retaining the decision making power. Consultation can be either interactive (e.g. facilitated workshop) or via traditional means (e.g. commenting on a draft document or proposal)
Core group or steering group A sub group of stakeholders who work with the process designer/facilitator to design and support the stakeholder dialogue. The sub group often comprises the range of authorities that have a statutory responsibility for the work in hand.
DIP’s Deliberative and Inclusionary Processes: A generic term used by social scientists to describe any process that is accessible and welcoming to a wide range of stakeholders and actively involves them in deliberating over issues and options.
Emergent analysis The process of analysing outputs by seeing what themes emerge rather than to a pre-determined set of titles
Empower The effect of sharing decision making power
Facilitation Intervention by a third party who uses interpersonal skills and specific tools and techniques to enable people to behave co-operatively, share insights and ideas, and find mutually acceptable way forwards
Facilitator A skilled and trained person who uses their skills to help people communicate better. The facilitator should be impartial and focus most on the process of communication not the content of the discussion. They should not input their own ideas and thoughts but reflect and steer discussion amongst participants
Key stakeholder A stakeholder who is essential to the process. Key stakeholders include people who:
• Hold statutory responsibility
• Hold crucial information
• Have resources they can use for implementation
• Are strong opponents
• Are strong champions
Macro Process The overall design of the stakeholder dialogue – the timeframes, number of workshops, and phases in-between for other activities.
Outcomes What changes as a result of the process
Outputs The text, maps, tables and notes that are recorded during a stakeholder workshop
Participant A stakeholder who chooses to be involved in a process
Participation Can mean almost anything – depends whose using it! It seems to most often mean engaging stakeholders in a way an organisation has not done before – but it is also used to mean volunteering to do practical conservation work. If people use this term probe further to find out what they mean!
Participative democracy A term to describe stakeholder involvement in decisions becoming the norm. It is a core part of government policy as participative democracy is seen as the main way of addressing the ‘democratic deficit’ left by the decline in ‘elective democracy’.
Photo report A photographic record of all outputs from a stakeholder workshop
Piggy backing This is when one decision-making process joins in with another hooking into the same workshops, networks and links
Principled negotiation Used to describe co-operative decision-making where different parties want to find win/win
Process design Designing an inclusive, effective, fit for purpose process that engages stakeholders in an appropriate way.
Social Capital The sum of connectedness, trust and goodwill between people. Social capital is described as having four elements:
• Relations of trust
• Reciprocity and exchanges
• Common rules, norms and sanctions
• Connectedness, networks and groups
Good social capital results in co-operation and collective action. Social capital is seen as one of five key assets essential for sustainable living alongside: natural, physical, financial, and human
Sponsoring organisation The organisations – usually the problem holder – who initiate the need for a stakeholder process. Sometimes referred to as the ‘host organisation’.
Stakeholder A person who has a stake in the outcome – includes those who have an interest in, or are affected by, the decisions being made (includes the sponsoring organisation).
Stakeholder analysis The process used to work out who to include, levels of tension and likely concerns!
Stakeholder dialogue A decision making process that is deliberately designed and facilitated by a trained and skilled person. It is inclusive and aims to share decision-making power as much as possible.
Stakeholder fatigue Stakeholders who have been actively involved but now decline involvement. This is often because: their involvement made no difference; processes duplicated each other; or they are fed up with having to say the same thing over and over again in different forum.
Systems thinking The process of understanding how things influence one another within one whole system. In environmental decision-making, it takes into account knock-on effects of changes – including impacts on different sectors, communities, environments, issues, areas etc.
Techniques The variety of interactive methods used to encourage stakeholders to work co-operatively
Tools Shorthand to describe facilitation kit e.g. Post-it notes, marker pens, sticky dots, flipchart paper
Written or verbatim report A word-for-word report of all outputs – often sorted and processed using emergent analysis