Good at Home, Questioned Abroad. : A case study of how the operational context affects legitimacy judgements.
Abstract: Legitimacy is a central concept within organization studies and it is widely accepted that being granted legitimacy is crucial for organizations in today’s society. Legitimacy is known to be based on rationality which during the course of research development has come to include not only technical aspects, but also socially constructed factors affected by stakeholder’s personal values. Moreover, it is known that there are multiple dimensions of legitimacy and that organizations are evaluated based on method of operation, output and goals, and vision. These can be judged differently by stakeholders in the same field, arriving at possibly contradictive legitimacy judgements regarding the same organization. However, we are not familiar with if the context in which an organization operates affects the legitimacy judgement made by its stakeholders. This thesis therefore aimed to study how the context an organization operates in can affect the legitimacy judgement with a comparative case study. The study shows that the operational context in itself can be a factor in the evaluation of the organization. It also indicates that different contexts can cause different and contradictive legitimacy judgements among the stakeholders even though the operational task and output is essentially the same.
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