Is your favourite group a shark or a dolphin?

Meredith Doig / 04 July 2014

In a pluralist society there’s many shades and hues of stakeholder groups. Here’s one way to think of them. Is your group a shark or a dolphin, a sea lion or an orca?


Prefers confrontationPrefers collaboration
Non-discriminating: sees all opposition as ‘fair game’Sharks = relatively low in intelligence, single-minded attack strategy, acutely responsive to distress signals, blood in the water triggers a feeding frenzy, poor eyesight and peripheral vision, associates with own kind but shows no mutual support, swims and often attacks in packs. High risk! Sea Lions = moderate intelligence, tactical, popular spectacle, cute and friendly, tends to stay close to shore in safe waters, believes in safety in numbers – uneasy if too far from the group, vulnerable to attacks from more aggressive creatures like sharks and orcas. In a crisis, may scatter and not stand.
Discriminates between good guys and bad guysOrca = highly intelligent, fierce in appearance, uses fear to achieve goals, likes deep waters, travels long distances, associates with own kind but eats sea lions. In a crisis, can count on them to do the unexpected, either positive or negative. Dolphins = intelligent, creative, popular, can fend off sharks, equally comfortable in deep or shallow waters, can travel long distances, can be a loner or intensely social. Unlike sea lions, they are not interested only in fish – seek interesting relationships that require an intelligent approach. An ideal stakeholder partner.







All the more reason.