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Book part
Publication date: 27 April 2004

Anna C Johansson and Jane Sell

The use of routines in the decision-making process of individuals, groups and organizations is a well accepted yet taken for granted phenomenon. One goal of organizations…

Abstract

The use of routines in the decision-making process of individuals, groups and organizations is a well accepted yet taken for granted phenomenon. One goal of organizations is to develop group routines that are efficient, but at the same time flexible. However, this presents a paradox because routines that are efficient at one point in time, or for a particular task, may persist, be unquestioned, and become increasingly inefficient for the group and the organization. This chapter develops a formal theory that describes the processes by which the legitimation of particular group structures impacts the development and use of group routines. The theory presented draws from theories of legitimation, expectation states theory, and institutional theory. The theory formally depicts three sources of legitimation: a referential belief structure (set of cultural beliefs) about expertise and leadership, authorization or superordinate support of a leader, and endorsement (support by group) of a leader. Specifically, the theory addresses: (1) how different sources of legitimation make groups more or less hierarchical; and (2) how the different sources of legitimation make group routines more or less flexible.

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Legitimacy Processes in Organizations
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-0-76231-008-1

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Book part
Publication date: 12 January 2021

Davide Nicolini, Juliane Reinecke and Muhammad Aneeq Ismail

In this paper, the authors explore the specific nature of material-based legitimation and examine how it differs from other forms of legitimation. Prior studies of…

Abstract

In this paper, the authors explore the specific nature of material-based legitimation and examine how it differs from other forms of legitimation. Prior studies of institutional legitimacy have predominantly focused on the discursive and iconic aspects of legitimation, with much less focus placed on the role of materiality. To advance our argument, the authors introduce the notion of enactive legitimation. The authors suggest that legitimation is derived from and supported by the ongoing engagement and interaction with materials and material-based practices. To elaborate our argument, the authors study a case of the use of material signification to legitimize a new financial product within Islamic banking. The authors show that the legitimacy of the product is grounded in materials and the materiality of a number of ritualized practices. Materials and practices, however, also impose their own specific constraints on the process, and do so in ways that are more evident than when legitimation is based on signs and symbols (both language and images). The paper contributes to practice-based institutionalism by leveraging one of the central tenets of practice theory to extend the understanding of legitimation. It also illustrates what practice-based sensitivity may look like in action.

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On Practice and Institution: New Empirical Directions
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-80043-416-5

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Book part
Publication date: 17 December 2008

Matthew E. Archibald and Kendralin J. Freeman

This paper examines whether affiliation strategies used by social movement organizations to establish institutional linkages assure survival. Several streams within both…

Abstract

This paper examines whether affiliation strategies used by social movement organizations to establish institutional linkages assure survival. Several streams within both social movement and organization theories suggest contrasting expectations. Two core research questions are proposed: how does strategic affiliation, as well as increasing legitimation, alter social movement organizations’ longevity, and how does the evolution of the movement condition these dynamics? Our answer focuses on the self-help/mutual-aid movement and the institutionalization of national self-help/mutual-aid organizations. Analyses comparing economic, political and symbolic means of survival at the population-of-organizations level and organizational level, and across the history of the movement, show that professional and political alliances and legitimation impact the longevity of self-help/mutual-aid organizations in unexpected ways. For instance, as the number of political alliances at the population level increases, the likelihood of organizational survival declines, although political alliances at the individual organizational level are beneficial for an organization. These relationships change dramatically as the movement matures. Implications for integrating social movement and organizations theories are discussed.

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Research in Social Movements, Conflicts and Change
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-84663-892-3

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Book part
Publication date: 8 June 2012

Romeo V. Turcan, Svetla Marinova and Mohammad Bakhtiar Rana

The paper focuses on legitimation and legitimation strategies applied by companies. Following the process of systematic review, we analyse empirical studies exploring…

Abstract

The paper focuses on legitimation and legitimation strategies applied by companies. Following the process of systematic review, we analyse empirical studies exploring legitimation and legitimation strategies from different theoretical perspectives. Using the key findings by reconnoitering and comparing the theoretical background, approaches, methodologies and findings of these empirical studies, we outline potential directions for research in the legitimation strategies of firms engaged in international business operations.

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Institutional Theory in International Business and Management
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78052-909-7

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Article
Publication date: 7 April 2020

Siqi Xu and Youmin Xi

This paper aims to explore the complete process and underlying mechanism that social enterprises obtain legitimacy during interactions with stakeholders from theoretical…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to explore the complete process and underlying mechanism that social enterprises obtain legitimacy during interactions with stakeholders from theoretical integration of institutional theory and organization ecology perspective.

Design/methodology/approach

Based on theoretical classification, this paper selects six typical Chinese social enterprises and conducts a multi-case analysis.

Findings

The study finds that social enterprises aim at legitimizing single entity or industry and shaping stakeholders’ cognitive boundary simultaneously. Therefore, by adopting constrained cooperation and competition activities, social enterprises use normative isomorphism to achieve personal legitimation and combining ecological niche construction, social enterprises achieve organizational legitimation. By adopting fragmented cooperation-dominant or competition-dominant activities, social enterprises use mimic isomorphism supplemented by competitive isomorphism or population structure creation to obtain industry legitimation. By adopting dynamically integrated coopetition activities, social enterprises use mimic isomorphism and reflexive isomorphism to reach field legitimation.

Originality/value

This paper proposes a mechanism model that the coopetition with stakeholders influences the legitimation process, identifies four stages of social enterprise’s legitimation process and the types of legitimacy obtained in each stage and fills the gap of Chinese indigenous social enterprise research.

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Nankai Business Review International, vol. 11 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2040-8749

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Article
Publication date: 29 June 2017

Orlagh Reynolds, Maura Sheehan and Rachel Hilliard

The purpose of this paper is to look at the role played by three archetypal constructs pertaining to the individual sustainability-oriented entrepreneur, namely prior…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to look at the role played by three archetypal constructs pertaining to the individual sustainability-oriented entrepreneur, namely prior knowledge, sustainability orientation and sustainability intention, in legitimation behavior and explores their strategic utility.

Design/methodology/approach

The author studies legitimacy-seeking behavior in the case of ten sustainability-oriented entrepreneurs. A qualitative case study approach is used, capturing evidence of legitimation behavior in the startup phase through interviews, participant observation and documentation analysis.

Findings

Prior knowledge and sustainability orientation appear to offer little value beyond their role as necessary factors in maintaining legitimacy. Both appear to have limited strategic value for legitimation in comparison to sustainability intention. Intention as a construct embodies the “paradox” of sustainability-oriented entrepreneurship, and learning to successfully overcome this paradox to strategically utilize intention in legitimation is crucial for these entrepreneurs.

Practical implications

Knowledge of these factors could assist sustainability-oriented entrepreneurs in strategically utilizing these factors as agency when dealing with diverse stakeholder expectations to achieve their enterprising goals. Strengthening knowledge on factors important for legitimacy is pertinent in supporting this shared value approach to entrepreneurship.

Originality/value

Little theoretical or empirical attention has been paid to the complexity of strategic legitimation behavior of sustainability-oriented entrepreneurs. This paper provides novel empirical insight into what role these archetypal factors play in legitimation behavior and how they can be strategically utilized.

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International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior & Research, vol. 24 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1355-2554

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Article
Publication date: 19 February 2018

Noel Hyndman and Mariannunziata Liguori

The purpose of this paper is to focus on strategies and “spoken discourses” used to construct legitimation around change at the individual level. Comparing changes in…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to focus on strategies and “spoken discourses” used to construct legitimation around change at the individual level. Comparing changes in financial accounting, budgeting and performance management at two government levels (Westminster and Scotland), it explores the use of legitimation strategies in the implementation of accounting change and its perceived outcomes.

Design/methodology/approach

Drawing on semi-structured interviews, six legitimation/delegitimation strategies are used to code the transcribed data. Patterns with the perceived outcomes of change are explored.

Findings

Changes introduced to enhance “rational” decision making are often received as pushed by some source of authority. Regardless of the interviewees’ background and level, the results suggest that for radical accounting change to embed, it is necessary for it to be perceived as rational, rather than merely driven by authorisation-based pressures. Conversely, incremental change is associated with modest legitimation via rationalisation and delegitimation based on pathos and rationalisation.

Research limitations/implications

The study deals with actors’ legitimation strategies and perceptions of change. These may not correspond to actual substantial change. Taken-for-granted ideas often remain “under the radar”, therefore care must be taken in interpreting the results. The focus of the empirical study is on the UK, therefore conclusions are restricted to this context.

Originality/value

Existing studies struggle to explain organisations’ heterogeneity and practice variation; this study sheds light on how individual legitimation, which may lead to different organisational results, occurs. Differences in how actors interpret changes may be based on their position (central vs devolved administration) and on their ownership of the changes.

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Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 31 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

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Article
Publication date: 18 January 2016

Romeo V. Turcan and Norman M. Fraser

The purpose of this paper is to explore the process of legitimation of international new ventures (INVs) from an emerging economy and the effect such ventures have on the…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore the process of legitimation of international new ventures (INVs) from an emerging economy and the effect such ventures have on the process of creation and legitimation of a new industry in that economy.

Design/methodology/approach

It is a longitudinal ethnographic case study. Following an inductive theory building approach, data were collected over an 11-year period via in-depth interviews, participant observations and unobtrusive data.

Findings

Data reveal three different contexts in which legitimation takes place: legitimation of the new industry and of the new venture domestically and internationally. A new venture drives the process of industry legitimation by achieving legitimacy threshold first nationally at meso and micro levels as well as internationally. The challenge therefore for such a venture is to establish legitimacy in the absence of any precedents at the organization, industry or international levels. Unless at least one new venture achieves legitimacy threshold in a new industry there is no possibility for that industry to become institutionalized.

Research limitations/implications

The authors advocate for further research at the intersection between legitimation, international entrepreneurship and emerging markets in order to further advance the emergent theory.

Practical implications

The data suggest that in order for an INV to achieve cognitive legitimacy and socio-political legitimacy in an emerging industry located in an emerging economy, and successfully internationalize, it shall design a robust business model targeting both internal and external stakeholders; engage in persuasive argumentation invoking familiar cues and scripts; engage in political negotiations promoting and defending incentive and operating mechanisms; and overcome the country-of-origin effect by pursuing technology legitimation strategy.

Social implications

Governments and NGOs may wish to see new industries emerge but they lack the means and mandate to establish and lead them themselves, instead rely on enabling actions, such as investment in capacity building. However, building capacity for an as-yet non-existent industry in an emerging economy may prove to be counter-productive, driving a brain drain of qualified workers who are forced to migrate to find suitable work. The work leads the authors to speculate about whether there may be a role for investment in programs of industry legitimacy building in pursuit of public policy objectives.

Originality/value

The study puts forward a process model of new industry legitimation. The model theorizes the process of change from an initial condition in which an industry does not exist to a final condition in which it is institutionalized. The model addresses the case where the initial catalyst is the formation of an INV that is the seed for the birth of the industry. Since both the new venture and the new industry lack cognitive and socio-political legitimacies, the model theorizes temporal emergence of these at organizational and industry levels, leading ultimately to institutionalization.

Details

International Journal of Emerging Markets, vol. 11 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1746-8809

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Article
Publication date: 10 August 2015

Karoliina Malmelin and Nando Malmelin

The purpose of this paper is to identify and analyze the challenges of public legitimation faced by faith-based organizations (FBOs) today. The paper addresses a new…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to identify and analyze the challenges of public legitimation faced by faith-based organizations (FBOs) today. The paper addresses a new approach to studying legitimation as a public and communicative process.

Design/methodology/approach

FBOs ' public legitimation problems are discussed on the basis of a systematic literature review and the problematization method.

Findings

The paper presents a novel typology of FBOs ' public legitimation problems, which are divided into the four categories of mission, brand and reputation, public relations and trust. It is suggested that research on FBOs and their legitimation should apply and develop the communication approach.

Originality/value

The paper addresses a current gap in legitimation research by reviewing the literature on public legitimation and the legitimation problems faced by FBOs. It identifies the communication approach as a significant perspective for future studies of FBO public legitimation.

Details

International Journal of Public Leadership, vol. 11 no. 3/4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2056-4929

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Article
Publication date: 1 January 1989

H.K. Klein and R.A. Hirschheim

Defines legitimation. Proposes six social factors or forces foranalysing the current bases for legitimation in information systemsdevelopment. Argues that if the…

Abstract

Defines legitimation. Proposes six social factors or forces for analysing the current bases for legitimation in information systems development. Argues that if the directions of these forces shift, it could signal a major social change. Asserts that consideration of the concepts related to the six factors can help information systems researchers to sense emergent issues.

Details

Office Technology and People, vol. 5 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0167-5710

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