1. A person or other entity with an interest, concern or values at stake in something, especially a business; 2. (in gambling) an independent party with whom each of those who make a wager deposits the money or counters wagered. Stakeholders can affect or be affected by the organization`s actions, objectives and policies. Some examples of key stakeholders are creditors, directors, employees, government (and its agencies), owners (shareholders), suppliers, unions, and the community from which the business draws its resources.
Not all stakeholders are equal. A company`s customers are entitled to fair-trading practices but they are not entitled to the same consideration as the company`s employees. In a multistakeholder structure, for example, stakeholders may have private interests (e.g., private-sector representatives, while others may have plural or public interests (e.g., civil society organizations), or public duties (i.e., central and local governments, and other organs of the state).
For more detail, see McGrath and Whitty.