The big shareholder groups in Harte Hanks, Inc. (NASDAQ:HHS) have power over the company. Large companies usually have institutions as shareholders, and we usually see insiders owning shares in smaller companies. I generally like to see some degree of insider ownership, even if only a little. As Nassim Nicholas Taleb said, 'Don’t tell me what you think, tell me what you have in your portfolio.\nHarte Hanks is not a large company by global standards. It has a market capitalization of US$108m, which means it wouldn't have the attention of many institutional investors. Our analysis of the ownership of the company, below, shows that institutions are noticeable on the share registry. Let's take a closer look to see what the different types of shareholders can tell us about Harte Hanks.\nWhat Does The Institutional Ownership Tell Us About Harte Hanks?\nMany institutions measure their performance against an index that approximates the local market. So they usually pay more attention to companies that are included in major indices.\nHarte Hanks already has institutions on the share registry. Indeed, they own a respectable stake in the company. This implies the analysts working for those institutions have looked at the stock and they like it. But just like anyone else, they could be wrong. It is not uncommon to see a big share price drop if two large institutional investors try to sell out of a stock at the same time. So it is worth checking the past earnings trajectory of Harte Hanks, (below). Of course, keep in mind that there are other factors to consider, too.\nIt would appear that 24% of Harte Hanks shares are controlled by hedge funds. That's interesting, because hedge funds can be quite active and activist. Many look for medium term catalysts that will drive the share price higher. Looking at our data, we can see that the largest shareholder is Westerly Capital Management, LLC with 17% of shares outstanding. The second and third largest shareholders are William Blair Investment Management, LLC and Sarah Harte, with an equal amount of shares to their name at 9.4%. Furthermore, CEO Brian Linscott is the owner of 3.5% of the company's shares.\nWe did some more digging and found that 6 of the top shareholders account for roughly 52% of the register, implying that along with larger shareholders, there are a few smaller shareholders, thereby balancing out each others interests somewhat.\nWhile studying institutional ownership for a company can add value to your research, it is also a good practice to research analyst recommendations to get a deeper understand of a stock's expected performance. There is a little analyst coverage of the stock, but not much. So there is room for it to gain more coverage.\nInsider Ownership Of Harte Hanks\nThe definition of company insiders can be subjective and does vary between jurisdictions. Our data reflects individual insiders, capturing board members at the very least. Company management run the business, but the CEO will answer to the board, even if he or she is a member of it.\nInsider ownership is positive when it signals leadership are thinking like the true owners of the company. However, high insider ownership can also give immense power to a small group within the company. This can be negative in some circumstances.\nOur information suggests that insiders maintain a significant holding in Harte Hanks, Inc.. Insiders own US$25m worth of shares in the US$108m company. It is great to see insiders so invested in the business. It might be worth checking if those insiders have been buying recently.\nGeneral Public Ownership\nThe general public, who are usually individual investors, hold a 29% stake in Harte Hanks. While this group can't necessarily call the shots, it can certainly have a real influence on how the company is run.\nNext Steps:\nIt's always worth thinking about the different groups who own shares in a company. But to understand Harte Hanks better, we need to consider many other factors. Be aware that Harte Hanks is showing 1 warning sign in our investment analysis , you should know about...\nBut ultimately it is the future, not the past, that will determine how well the owners of this business will do. Therefore we think it advisable to take a look at this free report showing whether analysts are predicting a brighter future.\nNB: Figures in this article are calculated using data from the last twelve months, which refer to the 12-month period ending on the last date of the month the financial statement is dated. This may not be consistent with full year annual report figures.\nHave feedback on this article? Concerned about the content? Get in touch with us directly. Alternatively, email editorial-team (at) simplywallst.com.\nThis article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. We provide commentary based on historical data and analyst forecasts only using an unbiased methodology and our articles are not intended to be financial advice. It does not constitute a recommendation to buy or sell any stock, and does not take account of your objectives, or your financial situation. We aim to bring you long-term focused analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material. Simply Wall St has no position in any stocks mentioned.\nThe views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.