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Do All Firms Seek Legitimacy? An Examination of Firms in the Global Garment Industry
Academy of Management Proceedings (2013)
  • Susan L Young, Kennesaw State University
  • Makhija V Mona, Ohio University - Main Campus
Researchers have suggested that firms’ corporate social responsibility (CSR) decisions are based on the desire to gain legitimacy in their institutional environment, which establishes societal norms and values related to CSR. This view implies convergence in firms’ CSR behaviors within institutional contexts. We argue, however, that heterogeneity in firm attributes cause them to differ on their dependence on the goodwill of society at large, and therefore, their requirements for legitimacy. We suggest that firms’ need for legitimacy will vary according to two factors, their transparency and economic vulnerability. Based on this argument, eight hypotheses are developed and tested using a unique database of firms’ CSR responsiveness in the global apparel industry. Our findings indicate that, as predicted, CSR responsiveness does vary according to a firm’s need for legitimacy. This research underscores the differential economic motivations that firms have for engaging in CSR and highlights the critical role of firm attributes in influencing its CSR behavior.
  • corporate social responsibility,
  • institutional environment,
  • legitimacy
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Citation Information
Susan L Young and Makhija V Mona. "Do All Firms Seek Legitimacy? An Examination of Firms in the Global Garment Industry" Academy of Management Proceedings (2013)
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