From a business perspective, stakeholders are important because they affect major changes within a company, from financial decisions to how an organization runs. Stakeholders can be investors, employees, board members or partners, notes the Chartered Quality Institute. A stakeholder is someone or a group of people that are directly or indirectly affected by an organization's actions, or an individual or group that has a direct role in shaping a policy, business practice or decision that negatively or positively helps or hinders a business.
Stakeholders usually have a vested interest in a company, and these interests can be intellectual, social, financial or environmental.
Identifying a stakeholder's interest and involving them in a business gives the organization more ideas to work with, creates new partnerships and gives a company support from the outside. In a publicly traded company, stakeholders make up the board of directors and directly influence major decisions about staff and investments as well as minor issues concerning policy and management, as noted by BusinessDictionary.com.
On another level, stakeholders are customers and employees, providing revenue from using an organization's services as well as the manpower to create those services.
Investors and large-scale stakeholders are a company's watch dog, analyzing financial data and making decisions to correct its course, monitoring business policies and bringing issues based on vital interests to the table.