Technology Adoption and Stakeholder Analysis: Organizational Roles

Blog Post created by DSchneider-esristaff Employee on May 11, 2018

This is part 1 of a three-part series on the stakeholder analysis stage of a people-focused change management initiative.

People-focused change management focuses on the individual impacts of technology-driven changes occurring in an organization. Building trust and credibility with impacted individuals is a critical component of a successful change initiative—whether it is a transformative, enterprise technology rollout or a small project that impacts only a few teams.

Conducting a stakeholder analysis is a useful strategy to understand change impacts on the workforce. Stakeholder analysis produces a role-based view of the affected business units. Understanding organizational roles is a key part of people-focused change management. To gain this understanding, follow the four steps below.

Step 1Establish Liaisons

Begin by establishing a team of liaisons from stakeholder business units. Liaisons should be able to discuss the roles in their line of business at a deep level and have excellent communication skills. Liaisons are often the change sponsors for their business unit.

Step 2: Identify Organizational Roles

Each change sponsor identifies the impacted organizational roles. It’s important to keep an open mind about the definition of “impacted.” Something as simple as opening a new web application could have a significant impact if it’s a dramatic departure from the current workflow. 

Step 3: Complete Role Profiles

After identifying the impacted roles, the change sponsors document each role’s primary responsibilities. It can be tempting to document how roles will utilize the new technology, but the focus should be on the current state. 

In this step, be sure to engage in discussions with managers and supervisors so that your role profiles are as accurate as possible. This table shows example profiles of common roles at transportation organizations that deploy Esri technology.

Step 4: Discuss Change Impacts

After creating role profiles, it’s time for the change team to discuss the impacts of change on the roles. Change impacts may be underestimated or based on incorrect assumptions. To reduce this risk, hold discussions with the stakeholder managers to assess the true impact of change. These discussions also help prepare those frontline managers for the impending change.

The table below shows examples of how these discussions yield the current and desired states. 

It’s important to discuss change impacts in terms of pain/gain. Acknowledge any pain that will be felt by the roles, such as losing engrained workflows they have confidence in. Present gains in terms that resonate with stakeholders. This will help build acceptance and positive feelings about new workflows and technology.

Don’t be emotionally attached to the technology initiative in this phase. Let resistant stakeholders voice their concerns openly. This can yield the most productive results since misperceptions are often uncovered and honest dialog builds trust.


Making the effort to understand organizational roles is time well spent. The insights gained will help manage individual resistance to change (based on the pain/gain analysis) and plan change-related communications. Fostering an open dialog allows the change team to build trust and address stakeholder concerns. If significant widespread impacts are uncovered, the team may want to consider a phased project approach to deal with one or a few business units at a time.