Persons, groups or organizations that have direct or indirect stake in an organization because it can affect or be affected by the organization’s actions, objectives and policies (Business Dictionary, 2007). A sample list of stakeholders may include one or more of the following: employees, communities, shareholders, investors, government, suppliers, labour unions, government regulatory agencies, industry trade group, professional associates, competitors, public communities , local communities. The concept of stakeholder was first used in 1963 during an internal memorandum at th Stanford Research institute. It first defined stakeholders as “those groups without whose support the organization would cease to exist”. More recently a quite different meaning has become widely used in management and business contexts: a stakeholder is a person that has a legitimate interest in a project or entity.

(2000) Anne M. Smith, Moira Fishbacher, "Stakeholder involvement in the new service design process",in Journal of Financial Services Marketing, Volume 5, Number 1.