OWL logo
General WritingResearch and CitationTeaching and TutoringSubject-Specific WritingJob Search WritingESL
OWL at Purdue Logo

This page is brought to you by the OWL at Purdue (https://owl.english.purdue.edu/). When printing this page, you must include the entire legal notice at bottom.

Coming Soon: A new look for our same great content!

We're working hard this summer on a redesign of the Purdue OWL. Worry not! Our navigation menu and content will remain largely the same.

Considering Your Stakeholders


Audience Analysis: Building Information About Your Readers? discusses your communication's complex audience and provides key questions you can ask to determine readers' needs, values, and attitudes. This section also provides useful charts to help you with your audience analysis.

Contributors:Allen Brizee, Dana Lynn Driscoll, Anthony Sutton
Last Edited: 2015-04-23 12:47:27

A challenge that is unique to professional writing is that the writer is asked to be aware of the stakeholders in professional situations. In any given situation, a business can have any number of stakeholders who will be influenced by their decisions. It is for this reason that the communication and internal documents of a business should keep the stakeholders in mind.

Stakeholders and Audience 

The stakeholders in professional writing are different from the audience in that stakeholders are not likely to be readers of a business’s documents, but will still be affected by the decisions they contain. Because stakeholders are implicitly affected by a business’s decisions, it’s important that professional documents are written with their consideration. Examples of stakeholders can include:


Stakeholders and the Rhetorical Situation

The question of who are the stakeholders is both a practical and philosophical one because it requires one to think about both the ethical impact of an argument and the stance a writer must take. Three philosophical lenses that one can use to be aware of their stakeholders as they write are the Utilitarian Approach (Kant), The Rule- or Duty-based Approach (Deontological), and The Golden Rule.

These three lenses can guide a writer who considers them in terms of the rhetorical situation. With what kinds of stakeholders will it be important for a rule-based approach to be used? Is there a type of stakeholder that should be considered through a Utilitarian lens? Each of these questions supposes a different purpose and stance even if their audiences were the same. 

Writing With Stakeholders in Mind

Since stakeholders are different from the audience, but like the audience are individual who are a part of the rhetorical situation, a writer needs to understand how to write with both in mind. The questions such writers need to keep in mind are “who will read this?” and “who will be affected by this?” A good argument for a business will appeal to those who enact the policies of a business and those who are affected by the policy.

Copyright ©1995-2018 by The Writing Lab & The OWL at Purdue and Purdue University. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, reproduced, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission. Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our terms and conditions of fair use.