University of Twente Student Theses


The influence of legitimacy on access to resources: A case study

Aart, E. van der (2015) The influence of legitimacy on access to resources: A case study.

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Abstract:The theory of legitimacy states that individuals and organizations are more willing to share their resources with an organization that has a high legitimacy. There is not a lot of empirical research that tests this hypothesis. The research that is available almost exclusively looks at for-profit organizations. In this thesis I take a look at how legitimacy affects access to resources for non-profit organizations via the main question: How can non-profit organizations use legitimacy for gaining access to the resources they need? This thesis uses the legitimacy framework as defined by Suchman (1995). He subdivides legitimacy in nine subtypes of legitimacy: exchange legitimacy, influence legitimacy, dispositional legitimacy, consequential legitimacy, structural legitimacy, procedural legitimacy, personal legitimacy, comprehensibility and taken-for-grantedness. Each of these terms describes a different aspect of legitimacy. How much each type of legitimacy affects access to resources was tested via a case study on the non-profit organization the Science Shop UT. The Science Shop UT gathers questions from small organizations and individuals and finds students and researchers from the University of Twente who find an answer to these questions. How legitimacy affects access to resources was tested by interviewing the researchers of the University of Twente on why they choose to work with the Science Shop UT. I then transcribed the interviews and coded them through the legitimacy framework to see which types of legitimacy had the most effect on access to resources. After analyzing the interviews there were three types of legitimacy that seemed to affect access to resources the most in the case of the Science Shop UT: exchange legitimacy, procedural legitimacy and consequential legitimacy. The most likely strategies for maintaining or increasing these types of legitimacy for the Science Shop UT are finding stakeholders who already rate the Science Shop UT highly on these types of legitimacy and informing their stakeholders about the Science Shop UT outputs and procedures. My suggestion for further research would be to replicate this study via studying other non-profit organization to see how generalizable these findings are.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Wetenschapswinkel UT, Enschede, The Netherlands
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:70 social sciences in general, 85 business administration, organizational science, 88 social and public administration
Programme:Public Administration MSc (60020)
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