4Rs method to analyse stakeholders’ Rights, Responsibilities, Returns and Relationships

Brief Description
The 4Rs is an analytical tool which can be used as a complement to stakeholder analysis. The 4Rs clarifies the roles played by different stakeholders and the relationships that exist between them. Assessment and negotiation among stakeholders of these roles and relationships is necessary before developing the capacities needed for improving policies and institutions. The 4Rs tool unpacks these into:
  • Rights (access and control over resources);
  • Responsibilities (roles and power in management of resources);
  • Returns or revenues (benefits and costs derived from a resource) of stakeholders; and
  • Relationships between stakeholder groups.
This tool is particularly useful in contexts where roles need rethinking, negotiating and developing.

When to use
  • Analysing
  • Adopting,adapting and scaling up

How to use
  • Participants are asked to list all stakeholders identified through stakeholder analysis.
  • For each stakeholder, participants should, through discussion, describe the rights, responsibilities and returns, and then score them on a scale of 0 (none) to 5 (highest).
  • The table below is used to record the analysis.


Participants will consider what relationships exist between the stakeholder groups.
These relationships may be:
  • Strong, weak or inexistent
  • Positive, neutral or conflictual
  • Based on an informal or formal alliance

Considering relationships can be done in two ways, either:

  1. 1. Draw a map to illustrate the relationships between stakeholders, using different types or colours for the lines between them to indicate relationship. A thicker line is used to indicate a stronger relationship, and a dotted line to indicate a weak relationship.
  2. 2. Alternatively, a matrix can be created and completed showing relationships between stakeholders:

Stakeholder 1
Stakeholder 2
Stakeholder 3
Stakeholder 4
Stakeholder 1

Stakeholder 2

Stakeholder 3

Stakeholder 4

FAO 2005, Negotiation and mediation techniques for natural resource management: