Business Ethics Quarterly 13 (1):25-41 (2003)

Abstract
This paper is a preliminary attempt to better understand the concept of legitimacy in stakeholder theory. The normative componentof stakeholder theory plays a central role in the concept of legitimacy. Though the elaboration of legitimacy contained hereinapplies generally to all “normative cores” this paper relies on Phillips’s principle of stakeholder fairness and therefore begins with a brief description of this work. This is followed by a discussion of the importance of legitimacy to stakeholder theory as well as the general ambiguity of the term. A distinction is then drawn between normative and derivative legitimacy. Reference to this distinction helps distinguish between a relationship with the organization based on direct moral obligation and one based on the power to help or harm the organization. It is concluded that stakeholders who retain the ability to affect the organization are legitimate (derivatively), but that this legitimacy is derived from the moral obligation owed other (normative) stakeholders and that the two sorts of legitimacy are importantly different from one another. An example of the normative/derivative distinction at work in managerial decision making is elaborated upon and managerial and research implications are then suggested
Keywords Applied Philosophy  Business and Professional Ethics  Social Science
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ISBN(s) 1052-150X
DOI 10.5840/beq20031312
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References found in this work BETA

Are There Any Natural Rights?H. L. A. Hart - 1955 - Philosophical Review 64 (2):175-191.
Political Liberalism by John Rawls. [REVIEW]Philip Pettit - 1994 - Journal of Philosophy 91 (4):215-220.

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Citations of this work BETA

What Stakeholder Theory is Not.Andrew C. Wicks - 2003 - Business Ethics Quarterly 13 (4):479-502.

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