Stakeholders are individuals, groups, or organizations that can benefit from an evaluation or those who can affect or may be affected by an evaluation process or its findings. The word stakeholder originated in gambling in 16th-century England, where wagers were posted on wooden stakes. Later the term was broadened to refer to a neutral or trustworthy person who held a wager until the winner was decided. The term stakeholders was brought into evaluation from management consulting where it was adopted in 1963 at the Stanford Research Institute as a way of describing people who were not directly stockholders in a company but whose support was critical to the company’s success, for example, critically skilled employees and senior leadership.

Increasingly, stakeholders are seen as important in evaluation ...

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