This study develops a Habermasian framework for evaluating and generating challenges to organizational legitimacy. The launch of the SaveDisney.com web site represents an innovative example of an Internet-based activist public successfully challenging a corporation’s legitimacy and advocating for changes in corporate governance. Legitimacy research has focused on strategies used by organizations to build legitimacy (e.g., Dowling & Pfeffer, 1975; Metzler, 2001), but scholars rarely address how publics challenge legitimacy claims. Using Habermas’ conceptualization of communicative action and legitimacy to explore the SaveDisney.com case offers insight into ways that activist publics successfully challenge and reject the legitimacy claims of powerful corporations.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/sarah_feldner/4/