Organisational legitimacy and stakeholder information provision

Woodward, David G., Edwards, Pam and Birkin, Frank (1996) Organisational legitimacy and stakeholder information provision. British Journal of Management, 7, (4), 329-347. (doi:10.1111/j.1467-8551.1996.tb00123.x).


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One interpretation of the concept of organizational legitimacy is that it stems from the cultural values of society, and suggests that businesses operate under a mandate that may be withdrawn if organizations are seen not to be doing the 'right' things. This suggests there is something in the nature of a principal-agent relationship in existence, and that some form of accountability is then owed by the agent (the organization) to the principal (society). This paper seeks to investigate the nature of this accountability, distinguishing between the accountability which exists towards those elements of society with which an organization has a contractual relationship, and those where it does not. Adopting a pluralist stance, stakeholder theory is then used to illustrate the possible nature of both the form of legitimacy relationship extant, and of the accountability that the principal might expect of the agent.

Item Type: Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): doi:10.1111/j.1467-8551.1996.tb00123.x
ISSNs: 1045-3172 (print)
Related URLs:
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD28 Management. Industrial Management
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Divisions : University Structure - Pre August 2011 > School of Management
ePrint ID: 36666
Accepted Date and Publication Date:
December 1996Published
Date Deposited: 15 Mar 2007
Last Modified: 31 Mar 2016 12:05

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