Inderscience Publishers

Gaining legitimacy in contemporary world: environmental and social activities of organisations

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This article investigates the links between environmental and social activities of organisations and organisational legitimacy. The recent overemphasis on the business case for voluntary environmental and social activities of organisations is undermining the attention to other drivers such as legitimacy concerns. Previous literature has discussed how the principle of legitimacy may underpin corporate environmental and social performance providing motives for managers to pursue corporate social responsibility (CSR) strategies. In this article, we tried to advance questions that relate more to how CSR activities could potentially influence legitimation efforts of organisations. We focused on two main issues. The first is how CSR activities play into the different legitimation efforts of organisations at cognitive and socio-political levels. The second issue identifies potential variations in organisational choices of CSR activities as legitimation efforts and the conditions that influence these differences as constructs for further empirical research.

Keywords: organisational legitimacy, CSR, corporate social responsibility, environmental licence to operate, social licence to operate, establishing, legitimacy theory, legitimacy maintenance, legitimacy repair

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