Christina Prell, Klaus Hubacekb, Mark Reed, Department of Sociological Studies, University of Sheffield and Sustainability Research Institute, School of Earth and Environment, University of Leeds, 2009
Many conservation initiatives fail because they pay inadequate attention to the interests and characteristics of stakeholders. (Grimble and Wellard, 1997). As a consequence, stakeholder analysis has gained increasing attention and is now integral to many participatory natural resource management initiatives (Mushove and Vogel, 2005). However, there are a number of important limitations to current methods for stakeholder analysis. For example, stakeholders are usually identified and categorized through a subjective assessment of their relative power, influence and legitimacy (Mitchell et al., 1997; Frooman, 1999). Although a wide variety of categorization schemes have emerged from the literature (such as primary and secondary (Clarkson, 1995), actors and those acted upon (Mitchell et al., 1997); strategic and moral (Goodpaster, 1991); and generic and specific (Carroll, 1989) methods have often overlooked the role communication networks can play in categorizing and understanding stakeholder relationships. Social network analysis (SNA) offers one solution to these limitations.
Environmental applications of SNA are just beginning to emerge, and so far have focused on understanding characteristics of social networks that increase the likelihood of collective action and successful natural resource management (Schneider et al., 2003; Tomkins and Adger, 2004; Newman and Dale, 2004; Bodin et al., 2006; Crona and Bodin, 2006). In this paper, we harness and expand upon this knowledge to inform stakeholder analysis for participatory natural resource management. By participatory natural resource management we mean a process that engages stakeholders on multiple levels of decision making and facilitates the formation and strengthening of relationships among stakeholders for mutual learning (Grimble and Wellard, 1997; Dougill et al., 2006; Stringer et al., 2006). To enhance stakeholder analysis, we use SNA to identify the role and influence of different stakeholders and categories of stakeholder according to their positions within the network. We do this using case study material from the Peak District National Park, UK.