The Problem of Corporate Legitimacy

  • Andreas SuchanekEmail author
Living reference work entry


This chapter aims at clarifying the underlying problem which is addressed by the concept of corporate legitimacy. In a first step, it is defined as the question, what corporations can reasonably assume from society regarding the public acceptability of (value-creating) actions which put costs (risks, burdens, harm) on others? As such, legitimacy is reconstructed as a constitutional ethical focal point, where ethical focal points are defined as a shared understanding regarding societally desirable, mutually aligned behavioral expectations, constituting an infrastructure of social cooperation. In a volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous world, this shared understanding is at risk to erode. Companies are expected to contribute to it, which is, at the same time, aggravated due to the pressure of competition.


Corporate legitimacy Focal points Do no harm principle 


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.HHL – Leipzig Graduate School of ManagementLeipzigGermany

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