Legitimized identity vs identifiable legitimacy: Toward a theoretical framework of the relationship between organizational identity and organizational legitimacy

Lin Xiu, Feng Lu, Xin Liang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Purpose: Organizational identity and organizational legitimacy are related constructs, but comprehensive studies of the relationship have been lacking in the literature of organizational studies. This paper aims to propose a framework that includes four possible relationships between organizational legitimacy and identity. Design/methodology/approach: The authors evaluate the causes of each of these relationships and an important consequence of the relationship: their influences on organizational adaptation. Findings: With a series of propositions, the authors make a tentative, but valuable, move toward integrating two broad streams of social perspective of organizing, institutional theory and organizational identity and call for research efforts in this direction. Originality/value: The paper is the first one that explores the relationship between organizational identity and organizational legitimacy in a comprehensive way.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)102-120
Number of pages19
JournalNankai Business Review International
Issue number1
StatePublished - Nov 18 2019



  • Institutional theory
  • Organizational adaptation
  • Organizational identity
  • Organizational legitimacy
  • Research

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