Agriculture and Human Values

, Volume 31, Issue 2, pp 215–230 | Cite as

Outlining a strategic legitimacy assessment method: the case of the Illinois livestock industry

  • Peter GoldsmithEmail author
  • Filipe Pereira


The case and importance for managers and stakeholders to understand organizational legitimacy is very clear. A gap though exists, in both theory and application, as to how managers and community stakeholders proceed when they seek to understand and affect the legitimacy state of a firm or an industry. This article addresses this problem. Using public hearing transcripts we analyze over 7,000 lines of text to build a database of 589 statements regarding the legitimacy/illegitimacy of large confined animal operations. These data reflect the perspectives of 77 stakeholders, and cover 21 legitimacy themes, four legitimacy bases, and 13 authoritative references. The article presents, and then applies, a four-part method for legitimacy state assessment that integrates theory on legitimacy themes and bases, stakeholders, and authoritative references.


Legitimacy Livestock Inductive research Stakeholder theory 



Confined animal feeding operation


Illinois Department of Agriculture


Livestock Management Facilities Act


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Agricultural and Consumer EconomicsUniversity of IllinoisUrbanaUSA

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