Presentation Details

The Fourth International Conference on Knowledge, Culture and Change in Organisations

Legitimacy in a changing Global Economy

Jennifer Bartlett.

Aligning organisational legitimacy and the demands of a range of internal and external stakeholders is a central concern for managers. While institutional pressures provide an explanation within organisational theory to account for ways organisations achieve legitimacy (Meyer and Scott, 1992; DiMaggio and Powell, 1983), challenges to legitimacy continue to arise from the social environment. Particularly during times of internally or environmentally driven change, challenges are created for managers seeking to ensure their organisation avoids having questions raised about its legitimacy. This paper presents the proposition that the perceptions of collective opinion derived from mass media provide a lens to a global world upon which managers base decisions to protect and repair organisational legitimacy.

Legitimacy is determined from a broad social arena that can cross national and international boundaries (Lomi, 2000). Experience of legitimacy concerns, therefore, is often outside the traditional realms of managerial knowledge, and experience and of local business association networks (Aldrich, 1999). While the organisational landscape has been changing, at the same time, mass media has increased its focus on bringing news about events, and interpretations of events, from a broad and even global social area (Mutz, 1998). In addition, electronically facilitated media has exposed both organisational stakeholders and managers to views and interpretations of the world more quickly and more explicitly than in previous times. This paper proposes a model of a relationship between perceptions of collective opinion derived from mass media and organisational legitimacy.


Jennifer Bartlett  (Australia)
Lecturer, School of Advertising, Marketing and Public Relations
School of Advertising, Marketing and Public Relations Faculty of Business
Queensland University of Technology

Jennifer Bartlett is a lecturer in the School of Advertising, Marketing and Public Relations. She has more than 15 years experience in corporate public affairs and teaching.

  • Legitimacy
  • Environmental change
  • Organisational learning

(Virtual Presentation, English)