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6 February 2024, 15:30 - 17:00 CET / 9:30 - 11:00 EST

Morality and Reputation: Recursive Legitimation of Social Ventures in Resource-Constrained Contexts


Rebecca Namatovu

Copenhagen Business School

We explore the legitimation process of social ventures in an extremely resource-constrained health sector context. Drawing on legitimation theory, we highlight the impredicative process of social venture legitimation. We tease out moralization through narratives and reputation management through campaigns as two important strategies that founders use to gain and maintain legitimacy in their communities characterized by ambiguous NVBs. We show that social venture legitimacy is gained after the community legitimizes the founder. We affirm that social ventures use an alliance portfolio strategy to gain legitimacy. Based on four case studies using longitudinal primary and secondary data we show that social venture legitimation is a recursive process. We address the shortage of context-specific studies focused on social entrepreneurship and expose important mechanisms in venture legitimation. 


Paper co-authored with Winnie Onyas (School of Business, University of Leicester) & Samuel Dawa (Makerere University Business School)

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