Three Elements of Stakeholder Legitimacy

Journal of Business Ethics 105 (2):257-265 (2012)
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This paper focuses attention on the stakeholder attribute of legitimacy. Drawing upon institutional and stakeholder theories, I develop a framework of stakeholder legitimacy based on its three aspects—legitimacy of the stakeholder as an entity, legitimacy of the stakeholder’s claim, and legitimacy of the stakeholder’s behavior. I assume that stakeholder legitimacy is socially constructed by management and that each of its three aspects exists in degree in the manager’s perception. I discuss how these aspects interact and change over time, and propose an agenda for future research on stakeholder legitimacy



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