Browsing by Subject "legitimacy"

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  • Vaara, Eero; Monin, Philippe (Institute for Operations Research and Management Sciences, 2010-12-21)
    This paper challenges the predominant view that legitimation is merely a specific phase in merger or acquisition processes. We argue that a better understanding of postmerger organizational dynamics calls for conceptualization of discursive legitimation as an inherent part of unfolding merger processes. In particular, we focus on the recursive relationship between legitimation and organizational action. We have two objectives: to outline a theoretical model that helps one to understand the dynamics of discursive legitimation and organizational action in postmerger organizations, and to examine a revealing case to distinguish the inherent risks and problems in discursive legitimation. Our case analysis focuses on the merger between the French pharmaceutical companies BioMérieux and Pierre Fabre. We adopt a critical multimethod approach and distinguish specific discursive dynamics and pathological tendencies in this case. The analysis highlights the unintended consequences of discursive legitimation, the central role of sensegiving and sensehiding in discursive legitimation, the inherently political nature of legitimation and the risks associated with politicization, the special problems associated with fashionable discourses and the role of the media, the use of specific discursive strategies for legitimation and delegitimation, and the crucial role of actual integration results. This analysis adds to the existing research on mergers and acquisitions by treating discursive legitimation as part of the merger dynamics. In particular, our case analysis provides a new explanation for merger failure. We also believe that the recursive model connecting discursive legitimation and delegitimation strategies to concrete organizational action makes a more general contribution to our understanding of organizational legitimation.
  • Vaara, Eero; Monin, Philippe (Organizational Science, pp. 1–20, 2008)
    This paper challenges the predominant view that legitimation is merely a specific phase in merger or acquisition processes. We argue that a better understanding of postmerger organizational dynamics calls for conceptualization of discursive legitimation as an inherent part of unfolding merger processes. In particular, we focus on the recursive relationship between legitimation and organizational action. We have two objectives: to outline a theoretical model that helps one to understand the dynamics of discursive legitimation and organizational action in postmerger organizations, and to examine a revealing case to distinguish the inherent risks and problems in discursive legitimation. Our case analysis focuses on the merger between the French pharmaceutical companies BioMérieux and Pierre Fabre. We adopt a critical multimethod approach and distinguish specific discursive dynamics and pathological tendencies in this case. The analysis highlights the unintended consequences of discursive legitimation, the central role of sensegiving and sensehiding in discursive legitimation, the inherently political nature of legitimation and the risks associated with politicization, the special problems associated with fashionable discourses and the role of the media, the use of specific discursive strategies for legitimation and delegitimation, and the crucial role of actual integration results. This analysis adds to the existing research on mergers and acquisitions by treating discursive legitimation as part of the merger dynamics. In particular, our case analysis provides a new explanation for merger failure. We also believe that the recursive model connecting discursive legitimation and delegitimation strategies to concrete organizational action makes a more general contribution to our understanding of organizational legitimation.
  • Herlin, Heidi (Hanken School of Economics, 2021-06-15)
    The overall aim of this dissertation is to examine how cross-sector partnerships (CSPs) affect non-profit organizational legitimacy (NPO legitimacy) and how involved parties create legitimacy for CSPs. The emergent form of CSPs as a joint attempt to solve global meta-problems such as poverty, climate change, species extinction, and deterioration of key natural resources can result in benefits for both parties involved. However, CSPs can also be risky if they are not managed properly, particularly in relation to organizational legitimacy for the NPOs. The dissertation also focuses on how involved parties create legitimacy for the CSPs through the concept of corporate social responsibility (CSR). The theoretical foundations of the thesis are legitimacy theory, organizational identity theory, and boundary organizations, as well as bridging institutional entrepreneurship. Based on several case studies, combined with a research approach inspired by critical discourse analysis, the thesis comes up with a number of conclusions. The main theoretical contribution is providing a link between Austin’s collaboration continuum for CSPs and the concept of legitimacy of the NPOs. The more integrative a CSP becomes, the bigger the risk for damage to NPO legitimacy, due to complex management and difficulty of selecting appropriate corporate partners. This concerns particularly CSPs with large companies, such as MNCs or TNCs. Short-term project-based, philanthropic, or transactional partnerships, which are managed and controlled by the NPO, are safer. NPOs should also choose corporate partners with similar values. However, co-branding campaigns should be avoided. The research also shows that third-party organizations, such as corporate foundations, may act as boundary organizations between their founding companies and NPOs, and may help move existing partnerships along the collaboration continuum. Boundary organizations may also help in the sustenance of CSPs by allowing multiple logics to be combined. The findings reveal that CSR is used in the legitimation of the CSPs in order to create a distance between the two organizations and replace moral with technical responsibility. In addition, the NPOs are forced to outsource the selection of appropriate corporate partners to intermediaries, thereby becoming morally mute. NPOs must not, as a result of being involved in partnerships with companies, lose their critical vigilance of industry and should openly discuss tensions arising from their private sector involvement.
  • Joutsenvirta, Maria; Vaara, Eero (Scandinavian Journal of Management (2009) 25, 85—96, 2009)
    Despite the central role of legitimacy in corporate social responsibility debate, little is known of subtle meaning-making processes through which social actors attempt to establish or de-establish legitimacy for socially contested corporate undertakings, and through which they, at the same time, struggle to define the proper social role and responsibility of corporations. We investigated these processes in the context of the intense socio-political conflict around the Finnish forest industry company Metsa¨-Botnia’s world-scale pulp mill in Uruguay. A critical discursive analysis of Finnish media texts highlights three types of struggle that characterized the media coverage: legalistic argumentation, truth fights, and political battles. Interestingly, this case illustrates how the corporate representatives — with the help of the national media — tend to frame the issue in legalistic terms, emphasize their expert knowledge in technical and environmental evaluations, and distance themselves from political disputes. We argue that similar tendencies are likely to characterize corporate social responsibility debates more generally.
  • Ehrnström-Fuentes, Maria (Svenska handelshögskolan, 2016-09-26)
    This thesis critically analyses corporate-community relations in the forestry industry, with a particular focus on cases in the Latin American context. The key conceptual focus is on the legitimacy of corporate activity from the perspective of local communities in the contested field of sustainability. The concept of legitimacy is critically discussed in the light of a pluriversal approach to reality: Instead of assuming that legitimacy can be derived from a universally socially constructed system of shared norms and believes, legitimacy in the pluriverse signals that the world is not made up of one single history or worldview but many different ways of knowing, sensing, and being; what is perceived as legitimate depends on the place-based social imaginaries of the communities where it emerges. This approach to legitimacy creation, provides a nuanced understanding of the contested nature of forestry-community relations in Latin America. Adapting a pluriversal perspective on legitimacy has consequences for governance and how the corporate world engages with local communities. Instead of promoting consensus-seeking stakeholder dialogues among those do not wish to become stakeholders of the corporate world, there is a need to open up for encounters between worlds through conversations across differences and celebrate conflicts as manifestations of the different worlds within the pluriverse. Rooted governance is introduced as a concept that contrasts with the top-down approach of global governance. Instead, the bottom-up rooted approach recognises local differences, knowledges, and livelihoods as important elements of reproducing and sustaining life in communities. This pluriversal way of conceptualizing and acknowledging different life worlds and social imaginaries opens up opportunities to explore new alternatives for co-existence of communities– one of the most urgent challenges for our and future generations.
  • Erkama, Niina; Vaara, Eero (Organization Studies, 2009)
    Critical organization scholars have focused increasing attention on industrial and organizational restructurings such as shutdown decisions. However, little is known about the rhetorical strategies used to legitimate or resist plant closures in organizational negotiations. In this article, we draw from New Rhetoric to analyze rhetorical struggles, strategies and dynamics in unfolding organizational negotiations. We focus on the shutdown of the bus body unit of the Sweden-based Volvo Bus Corporation in Finland. We distinguish five types of rhetorical legitimation strategies and dynamics. These include the three classical dynamics of logos (rational arguments), pathos (emotional moral arguments), and ethos (authority-based arguments), but also autopoiesis (autopoietic narratives), and cosmos (cosmological constructions). Our analysis contributes to previous studies on organizational restructuring by providing a more nuanced understanding of how contemporary industrial closures are legitimated and resisted in organizational negotiations. This study also increases theoretical understanding of the role of rhetoric in legitimation more generally.
  • Erkama, Niina; Vaara, Eero (Organizational Studies, forthcoming, 2009/2010, 2009)
    Critical organization scholars have focused increasing attention on industrial and organizational restructurings such as shutdown decisions. However, we know little about the rhetorical strategies used to legitimate or resist plant closures in organizational negotiations. In this paper, we draw from New Rhetoric to analyze rhetorical struggles, strategies and dynamics in unfolding organizational negotiations. We focus on the shutdown of the bus body unit of the Swedish company Volvo in Finland. We distinguish five types of rhetorical legitimation strategies and dynamics. These include the three classical dynamics of logos (rational arguments), pathos (emotional moral arguments), and ethos (authority-based arguments), but also autopoiesis (autopoietic narratives), and cosmos (cosmological constructions). Our analysis adds to the previous studies explaining how organizational restructuring as a phenomenon is legitimated, how this legitimation has changed over time, and how contemporary industrial closures are legitimated in the media. This study also increases our theoretical understanding of the role of rhetoric in legitimation more generally.
  • Whelan, Glen; de Bakker, Frank G.A.; den Hond, Frank; Muthuri, Judy N. (2019)
    Organizations need legitimacy to be able to operate effectively. Consequently, and just like their participants, multi-stakeholder initiatives (MSIs) need to respond when faced with legitimacy challenges from external parties. We build on current theory to identify three organizational elements that can be made the subject of legitimacy critique – i.e., statutory procedures, objectives and mechanisms – and use these elements to structure our analysis of a conflict-ridden case concerning the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC). Whereas prior work suggests that organizations can respond to such conflicts in a fashion consistent with either moral entrapment or decoupling, we show that organizations can also respond by deflating their statutory procedures and objectives. A deflationary response can help organizations maintain their validity by diminishing the ability of external parties to advance propriety-legitimacy critiques against them. By examining this alternative response, we expand the scope and refine the analytic detail by which organizational legitimacy conflicts can be investigated.