2.1: Definition of a "Stakeholder"
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Stakeholders are people who have, or think they have, a personal interest in the outcome of a policy. This interest motivates them to attempt to influence the development of that policy. In the early days of this country, only citizens with a sufficiently large “stake” in the nation’s welfare (as measured by property holdings) were allowed to vote. Now, all citizens are recognized as stakeholders insofar as all are affected by the decisions made by elected and appointed officials and, therefore, have the right to vote. Consequently, an emergency management stakeholder is an individual who is affected by the decisions made (or not made) by emergency managers and policymakers in his or her community. Since all citizens are likely to be affected by emergency management policies, this definition implies all citizens are emergency management stakeholders. Although this is true, it is not very helpful because stakeholders differ in the ways they are affected by emergency management policies and, even more important, they differ in the times at which they are affected and the magnitude of the impacts policy has on them. It is not enough, however, to say that everyone is potentially affected by disasters. Thus, this chapter will examine the different types of people who have an interest in the emergency management process, beginning at the simplest level of social organization.