To read this content please select one of the options below:

Consumer legitimacy: conceptualization and measurement scales

Arilova A. Randrianasolo (Department of Marketing and Management, Butler University, Indianapolis, Indiana, USA)
Mark J. Arnold (Department of Marketing, Richard A. Chaifetz School of Business, Saint Louis University, Saint Louis, Missouri, USA)

Journal of Consumer Marketing

ISSN: 0736-3761

Article publication date: 21 February 2020

Issue publication date: 21 May 2020




This paper aims to propose the concept of consumer legitimacy, develops scales to measure this concept and shows its utility and relevance in the international marketing field.


A four-step deductive approach (construct definition, item generation, scale purification and scale validation) is used to develop scales for three dimensions of consumer legitimacy, then a structural model of antecedents and outcomes of the construct provides validity for the developed scales.


Results validate the developed scales with different multinational enterprise contexts across two countries. It is found that perception of social responsibility influences three dimensions of consumer legitimacy, both moral and cognitive legitimacy influence willingness to buy firm products, and moral legitimacy influences attitudes toward the firm.

Practical implications

As a crucial resource, legitimacy can offer firms comparative advantages that lead to competitive advantages. The findings of this research provide a new perspective on how firms may measure, acquire and/or increase this resource.


This paper shifts the discussion of legitimacy to a key firm stakeholder that has been ignored in the literature: consumers. Thus, it implies that both researchers and practitioners should provide stronger consideration to the consumer role in granting legitimacy.



Randrianasolo, A.A. and Arnold, M.J. (2020), "Consumer legitimacy: conceptualization and measurement scales", Journal of Consumer Marketing, Vol. 37 No. 4, pp. 385-397.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited

Related articles