A stakeholder is often incorrectly believed to be a person who is providing financial backing for a specific function or project to be completed. In actual fact a stakeholder is a more widely ranging term. They can be individual persons such as customers or sponsors to whole groups such as performing organizations and the public. Anyone who is actively involved with the project may be regarded as a stakeholder, as well as anyone who may be positively or negatively affected by the project’s outcome. Project management personnel may be regarded as stakeholders as well seeing as they are directly involved with the project and are likely to be affected by the project’s conclusion. A stakeholder is often a random and unforeseen variable when it comes to project management. They can be divided up into two categories, positive stakeholders and negative stakeholders. A positive stakeholder will benefit from the successful completion of a project in some way, either by increasing their own quality of life or by profiting financially. Negative stakeholders will be affected negatively by a successfully completed project and will work to have the project slowed or scrapped altogether. An example of this would be an environmentalist faction who opposes the decisions of project management to place a housing development into an area with a high concentration of natural plants and wildlife.
This term is defined in the 3rd and the 4th edition of the PMBOK.