An issue-based approach to organisational legitimacy: the case of Namdeb

Claasen, Cyrlene B. (2012). An issue-based approach to organisational legitimacy: the case of Namdeb. PhD thesis The Open University.



In this investigative study an issue-based approach is employed to examine the effects of a continuous flux of everyday, dynamic and often interconnected or interrelated political, economic, social, environmental and legislative issues involving mostly external stakeholders. The case study method was used and the issues influencing the legitimacy of Namdeb, a public private joint venture (PPJV) between the Government of Namibia and De Beers, international diamond miner and retailer was investigated. The findings show that a number of interconnected and constant issues collectively influence organisational legitimacy on a daily and continuous basis. Furthermore, most of these issues are moral issues. Moreover, political issues were specifically identified as a major source of adverse impact on organisational legitimacy. On both the theoretical and practical levels, the need for a tool to help with the identification, classification and management of the issues affecting organisational legitimacy was also recognised. To assist with this, a two- dimensional alternative to Suchman's (1995) typology of organisational legitimacy which is considered the reference in the field of legitimacy theory, was developed by taking into consideration issue and legitimacy types. The study was conducted for two main reasons. Firstly, no existing study concentrating on the various collective and everyday issues affecting organisational legitimacy has thus far been embarked upon. Secondly, no empirical evidence based on the direct input, or more precisely points of view of external stakeholders, has been identified in the current literature and yet organisational legitimacy is said to be dependent on some degree of shared agreement among societal constituencies or stakeholders that an organisation is aligned with accepted notions of purpose, endeavor and outcomes.

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