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Coffee as a medium for ethical, social, and political messages: Organizational legitimacy and communication [Book Review]

Journal of Business Ethics 72 (1):47-59 (2007)
This research examines how an organization, Thanksgiving Coffee, establishes and maintains its legitimacy with its constituent publics. In line with Boyd’s (2000, Journal of Public Relations Research 12(4), 341–353.) concept of actional legitimacy, Thanksgiving Coffee demonstrates a legitimation strategy addressing social issues and by responding to ethical and political questions. Applying Fisher’s (1984, Communication Monographs 51, 1–18) concepts of narrative fidelity and probability, Thanksgiving Coffee’s policies and communication activities were found to alleviate the social issues to which they were addressed and therefore reinforce perceptions of legitimacy among publics. Viewing the influence of organizations from a different perspective, this study provides an example of how the policies of an organization can have a positive impact on the broader society in which it operates.
Keywords legitimacy  social responsibility  policy  public relations  campaigns  social issues  marketing
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