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Environmental Management - Influencing Stakeholder Behaviour

June 09, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 337

Within the context of this article, a stakeholder is essentially a person with an interest or concern in some form of environmental improvement within the organisation. When thinking about your own organisation, immediate stakeholders are likely to be your staff and various levels of management, sub-divided into different, but overlapping, stakeholder groups. All need to be considered when you are planning a behaviour change programme.

Behaviour change is not 'rocket science' and most managers will have implemented some form of behaviour change initiative in the past. However, there is a danger of making assumptions based on a previous experience, very often this is not the most effective or efficient way of achieving your aims.

To maximise the efficiency and likelihood of successful behaviour change, it is worth keeping in mind some proven guiding principles;

• gain senior management and/or board-level support at the outset • identify your key stakeholders and target audiences• develop your stakeholder engagement strategy • engage with staff at all levels to create a sense of ownership • use all available communication methods to influence behaviour

Gaining corporate commitment for your programme at the start of the process is essential. Obtaining support from your senior management and/or board will be critical to ensure that a clear and consistent message is communicated across the organisation about the importance of resource efficiency.

Once you have this support, consider the wider workforce and how you can exert influence. Check over staff and operational structures and take the time to find out more about what staff do and how they perform their duties. It is important to explain at the start that this is not about examining staff performance or productivity, it's simply establishing how and where they physically perform their tasks - office, canteen, shop floor, etc...

Understanding what staff do at work provides a clearer understanding of how they can implement behaviour change in their everyday activities. Once you have this information you can begin to develop a stakeholder engagement strategy.

Stakeholder Mapping

The first stage in the process is to identify the key stakeholders. These will be people in senior management or on the board of your organisation and are likely to set policy, budgets and govern communications within your organisation. This process of identification is called stakeholder mapping.

Your organisation may have many different stakeholder groups. The unique aspects of each group should be identified and considered when planning the behaviour change programme. Where work is sub-contracted, for example, maintenance, cleaning and catering, etc... , it is important to include these groups in the plan. Customers and suppliers are also important stakeholders and should be identified as specific groups.

When planning a resource efficiency campaign, use a systematic approach to consider every area of the organisation and the staff that work in those areas. Starting with a simple organisation map is helpful, once you have an overview you can add information to the map as the strategy develops.

Once your stakeholders are mapped, look carefully at the key staff across the organisation (particularly those in managerial or supervisory positions), research their roles, responsibilities and seek out their views to determine their attitude to the change you are seeking.

A useful approach adopted by many organisations, is to categorise your key stakeholders into the groupings described below:

Naysayers or Blockers

Staff in this group need to be monitored as their high energy can make them more likely to communicate widely and act vigorously. Their low commitment affects what they say and do, making them a likely obstacle to progress


There are rarely ever enough champions. They are likely to have the same high energy as 'blockers' but are committed to the change. Look after these stakeholders.


Are committed to the change and may also talk a lot, but their low energy means they are unlikely to take much action


They are not committed to the change and are unlikely to make any effort or contribution. Unless they are critical to success, don't exert too much time or effort on this group.

The objective of your stakeholder engagement strategy and subsequent behaviour change programme is to move everyone into the champions segment by identifying, addressing and overcoming their barriers to change.

This is part two of a series of articles which cover Environmental Behaviour Change.

EMC Business Solutions aims to assist businesses in the development of environmental management systems, providing a platform for sustainable development and business growth.

Find out more at

You can also visit our blog at

Source: EzineArticles
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