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Stakeholder engagement

This section examines how to identify and engage with stakeholders and why this is important for your organisation. Meaningful engagement practices are identified as well as the different stakeholders with which sports bodies engage both inside and outside the organisation.

Within governance theory, the stakeholder approach argues that sound governance aims not just to meet the objectives of shareholders or members but also to have regard to the interests of other individuals and groups impacted by the performance and conduct of an organisation, including the public at large. From a ‘stakeholder view’, governance is concerned with achieving a balance between business and social goals and individual and communal goals.

Effective stakeholder engagement can help organisations improve understanding and decision making as well as overall governance and organisational effectiveness. Acknowledging and affording stakeholder groups a meaningful voice provides some checks and balances on the concept of the autonomy of sport, creates a productive two-way dialogue with those impacted by and contributing to a sport, increases a sense of participation and belonging, and improves democratic accountability. It also encourages the integration of stakeholder knowledge into the sport’s direction.

This section covers stakeholder engagement in several different subsections:

  • Why do we need stakeholder engagement?
  • Defining and identifying stakeholders in sport
  • Stakeholder voice in decision making
  • Channels of communication
  • Reporting on stakeholder engagement
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    Why do we need stakeholder engagement?

    There are a number of reasons for effective stakeholder engagement, including regulatory requirements, a moral or ethical imperative as well as strong financial or business reasons.

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    Defining and identifying stakeholders in sports

    The range of stakeholders will vary from organisation to organisation depending on size, complexity, activities and other factors. Understanding who their stakeholders are is an important step for sports bodies to plan for and execute effective engagement with them.

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    Stakeholder voice in decision making

    How the voice of influential stakeholder groups is reflected in the decision making by sports organisations will reflect how seriously a stakeholder-inclusive approach is taken.

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    Channels of communication with stakeholders

    Understand key principles about communicating with stakeholders to build positive relationships and create genuine value for stakeholders and sports organisations.

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    Reporting on stakeholder engagement

    The board should report to its members or shareholders and key stakeholders on how it has taken the impact on them into account when making decisions.

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    Related tools

    Useful tools for understanding stakeholder engagement

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