The Model

To perform a stakeholder analysis, Eurasia Consult uses a model
developed by its founder Dr. Peter Peverelli. In this section we will
try to present the model in more informal fashion. Those who are
interested in a more academic introduction can find useful texts in
the reference section of this site.

A theory of organizing
Social Integration Theory draws heavily from the organizing theory
of Karl Weick. The central theme in Weick's theory is that of sensemaking.
People constantly encounter situations that can be interpreted in multiple
ways. They try to make sense of such situations by reducing the ambiguity
to one single interpretation. This reduction process takes place in social
interaction with other people involved. People will exchange information
regarding a specific topic until they have reached a certain level of agreement.

Complexity in organizations

The achievement of this purpose is reflected by the degree to which those
people's behaviour becomes interlocked. The interlocking of behaviour
allows people to divide a task into roles performed by different people.
People then only perform that part, using their unique expertise. Once
people start acting on the basis of such interlocked behaviour, they constitute
a social structure, a pattern of collective behaviour, like regularly repeated
activities in a company. A typical example of such a structure are the
employees of a company who leave home every week day to go to the place
of work they share to do the things they do every working day, etc. Their
collective sensemaking of the world has crystallized in a number of shared
daily routines, symbols of which they make sense in similar ways, etc. That
they do not have to make sense of what to do and why to do it every single
work day makes life a lot easier for them and allows them to make more
efficient use their limited span of attention to make sense of whatever is not
compliant with their expectations.

Each individual is a member of several of such social structures. This
membership is called: inclusion. The formation of such groups is a continuous
process; groups form and disband. People enter groups, while others leave them.
During an effort to stabilize his inclusion in a certain group, individual persons
may force to integrate more of themselves into that group.

The smallest social structure is called: configuration. Configurations are
groups of people who, during continuous social interaction, have attained
a similar interpretation of reality. This definition reflects the two aspects
of configurations:
- a social aspect: frequent, organized, social interaction (e.g., work related meetings)
- a cognitive aspect: similar interpretation of reality.
Reality is understood as having a constructed nature. People construct
their (version of) reality via an ongoing process of social interaction. These
definitions of reality are never comprehensive theories comprising all aspects
of reality. People only possess a limited span of attention. They will use this
span to cover that part of reality that is essential; that which comes to the fore
in the present context. Complex phenomena are reduced to simple, comprehensible,
treatable, facts. Reality is constructed using a set of construction rules. People
apply these rules in a continuous process of re-construction of reality. People
are simultaneously included in several configurations, which is referred to as:
multiple inclusion. In each concrete occasion of social interaction, people will
tighten a shared inclusion, but they will also have access to other inclusions.

Most configurations are formed instantly and cease to exist, when the reason
for their formation is no longer felt. However, some configurations become
sticky. They attract more and more people. As a result the shared reality
construct becomes more diffuse. Such larger social structures are called:
cognitive spaces, or simply: spaces. Spaces come in various sizes. Some, for
example a national political party, can be quite large. Such a national political
party consists of a relatively large number of people who do not all frequently
interact. There are conventions, but these tend to be large and not all conventions
are attended by all members. However, they are bound together by cognitive
matter comparable to the cognitive element of a configuration. That cognitive
matter is constructed in more or less the same fashion as is the case in a
configuration. E.g., a political party usually has its own magazine in which
members exchange ideas.

This definition of social structure can be used to observe ongoing social
interaction within a space. Once we understand the cognitive element of a
particular space (ideas, symbols, ways of doing things, etc.), we may attempt
to predict possible social interaction that may take place, or could taken place.
Such insight will serve a number of practical purposes, such as: analysis of
and intervention in organizational problems, marketing research, feasibility
studies, and, of course, stakeholder analysis. The latter is elaborated under the
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