In short…no. Or, not easily. Or…not very well. A stakeholder is not a user. To satisfy a user need you need to focus on the user. By definition, a stakeholder is not a user. They might be able to help but they cannot offer the insight vital to UX success.
In the corporate learning world, stakeholders have a powerful position in most projects. Often they have the most powerful seat at a small table (along with subject matter experts who should not do UX either). Still, they are not users.
Stakeholders are very good at describing what they want users to want. This does not qualify them to define what users actually want, however. Unless they have evidence. Evidence direct from users. Very often they do not.
Before I suffer the slings of accusation about a closed mind, let me expand my thinking. A stakeholder has a vital role in defining a business problem or need. Something that needs to be improved, stopped, or started. Business requirements. These are the stuff of the stakeholder. The business metrics that need to change need to be described and analysed to scope a response. A learning project rarely starts without these inputs. There are enlightened stakeholders with supporting evidence and user insight. This is great and useful grist to the mill of UX testing. It is not the full UX answer though. That must come from users.
Insight on user needs can come from many sources, including: talking to them, surveying them, studying use of products and tools, product usage analysis, social media, feedback links, feedback mail. The significant point (for me) is that it should be unmediated and direct to the product owner. Interpretation and response to user data is what product owners are for. The best of the can translate this into stakeholder friendly stories and evidence.
Last week, during a UX workshop I was facilitating, we talked about “the head office bubble”. A central learning team, talking to fellow head office stakeholders about how best to design a digital learning experience is a familiar scene. Add some more corporate subject matter experts and an elegant, self-affirming bubble is easy to create. We are all hard-working and well-meaning but with no user voice it is not a full conversation.