Managing Legitimacy in Complex and Heterogeneous Environments: Sustainable Development in a Globalized World

University of Zurich, Institute of Business Administration, UZH Business Working Paper No. 306

50 Pages Posted: 29 Aug 2012

See all articles by Andreas Georg Scherer

Andreas Georg Scherer

University of Zurich - IBW Department of Business Administration

Guido Palazzo

University of Lausanne

David Seidl

University of Zurich - Department of Business Administration (IBW)

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: August 27, 2012

Abstract

The sustainability problems of the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services increasingly challenges the legitimacy of corporations. Corporate legitimacy, however, is vital to the survival of corporations in competitive environments. The literature distinguishes three strategies that corporations commonly employ to address legitimacy problems: adapt to external expectations, try to manipulate the perception of their stakeholders or engage in a discourse with those who question their legitimacy. This paper develops a theoretical framework for the application of different legitimacy strategies and suggests that corporations facing sustainability problems have to be able to activate all three legitimacy strategies, despite their inherent incompatibilities.

Keywords: corporate legitimacy, corporate responsibility, globalization, institutional theory, paradox, sustainability

Suggested Citation

Scherer, Andreas Georg and Palazzo, Guido and Seidl, David, Managing Legitimacy in Complex and Heterogeneous Environments: Sustainable Development in a Globalized World (August 27, 2012). University of Zurich, Institute of Business Administration, UZH Business Working Paper No. 306. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2137060 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2137060

Andreas Georg Scherer (Contact Author)

University of Zurich - IBW Department of Business Administration ( email )

Universitätsstrasse 84
Zurich, 8006
Switzerland
+41 44-63 45302 (Phone)
+41 44-63 45301 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.business.uzh.ch/professorships/as.html

Guido Palazzo

University of Lausanne ( email )

Lausanne, Vaud CH-1015
Switzerland

David Seidl

University of Zurich - Department of Business Administration (IBW) ( email )

Hottingerstrasse 10
Plattenstrasse 14
Zurich, 8032
Switzerland

HOME PAGE: http://www.om.uzh.ch

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