What does a publisher do? Manage stakeholders

In my initial post in this series “What does a publisher do?” I said that the series would seek to specify, in concrete terms, what a publisher actually does. All of the subsequent posts in this series will indeed concern themselves directly with the nitty-gritty. The current post, however, works on a somewhat more abstract level, the reason being that its purpose is to provide a framework for all subsequent posts in the series. It is, as it were, a meta-post.

Over the last couple of decades or so the conception of stakeholder management has become increasingly popular. In essence, stakeholder management consists of,  first, identifying your stakeholders and then seeking to ensure you have the stakeholders you want and that you are managing (your relationship with) them effectively. This includes, but is not limited to, a consideration of contractual and financial arrangements.

To do all this, it helps to have a taxonomy of stakeholders in place. Many such taxonomies have been proposed – see Friedman & Miles, Stakeholders: Theory and Practice (OUP, 2006) for an excellent review. None is ideal for all circumstances. For pragmatic reasons, I find it useful to use a very straightforward approach.

I visualise our taxonomy in the form of a sandwich. The top layer comprises our suppliers. They range from publishing-specific suppliers – for example, authors and freelancers – to  general suppliers (for example, business that supply utility-type services such as water, electricity, mail, and transport). 

Thus we have: 

Suppliers

 The bottom layer comprises our clients and customers. They include ‘B2B’ clients – other businesses, such as wholesalers and library suppliers – and customers (typically, readers buying our publications). So: 

Suppliers
Clients, customers

 In between, we have three sets of stakeholders:

  1. the owners/investors;
  2. the workforce;
  3. what I broadly (and reasonably accurately) think of as our ‘non-trading’ partners. They include: (a) the state – local, national, and supra-national governments; (b) communities – principally the local community and professional communities of practice; (c) the media (in which I include not only professional journalists and broadcasters but also various Web 2.0-ers – for example, prominent bloggers); and (d) the environment which, though non-human and inarticulate is a stakeholder by virtue of the fact that we influence it and it influences us.
Overall, therefore, our taxonomy looks like this: 
Suppliers
Owners, investors Workforce The state
The community
The media
The environment
Clients, customers

In fact, however, we don’t have a workforce (other than ourselves). Though we’d like to employ people, the state would penalise us for doing so – principally by imposing a payroll tax known in the UK as ‘national insurance’. We therefore rely on outsourcing work to suppliers. I maintain the category of ‘workforce’ in our schema, however, in the hope that we will one day find ourselves working in a less punitive regime.

In the rest of the series, as we specify the operations that we perform as publishers, we will employ this taxonomy, considering the work that managing each set of stakeholders entails.

Advertisements

12 Responses to “What does a publisher do? Manage stakeholders”

  1. […] ‘What does a publisher do? Manage stakeholders‘ (13 Dec), I wrote that as publishers we seek to (a) identify our stakeholders and (b) manage […]

  2. […] second post (‘What does a publisher do? Manage stakeholders‘) in this series set out a framework for subsequent posts – a framework based on the […]

  3. […] second post (‘What does a publisher do? Manage stakeholders‘) in this series set out a framework for subsequent posts – a framework based on the […]

  4. […] second post (‘What does a publisher do? Manage stakeholders’) in this series set out a framework for subsequent posts – a framework based on the types of […]

  5. […] second post (‘What does a publisher do? Manage stakeholders’) in this series set out a framework for subsequent posts – a framework based on the types of […]

  6. […] second post (‘What does a publisher do? Manage stakeholders’) in this series set out a framework for subsequent posts – a framework based on the types of […]

  7. […] second post (‘What does a publisher do? Manage stakeholders’) in this series set out a framework for subsequent posts – a framework based on the types of […]

  8. […] second post (‘What does a publisher do? Manage stakeholders’) in this series set out a framework for subsequent posts – a framework based on the types of […]

  9. […] second post (‘What does a publisher do? Manage stakeholders’) in this series set out a framework for subsequent posts – a framework based on the types of […]

  10. […] second post (‘What does a publisher do? Manage stakeholders’) in this series set out a framework for subsequent posts – a framework based on the types of […]

  11. […] second post (‘What does a publisher do? Manage stakeholders’) in this series set out a framework for subsequent posts – a framework based on the types of […]

  12. […] second post (‘What does a publisher do? Manage stakeholders’) in this series set out a framework for subsequent posts – a framework based on the types of […]

Please add your response

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: