Legitimacy, Measurement and Experiments




Lewis, Alexander C.

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This dissertation comprises three papers, in addition to introductory and concluding chapters. The overall purpose of this dissertation is to measure and determine the dimensionality of individual legitimacy judgments, as well as to indirectly explore the processes of their formation and the subsequent action based on that formation. The first paper develops and validates a scale based off Tost's (2011) typology of legitimacy judgments: instrumental, moral, and relational legitimacy. The dimensionality of the instrument broadly confirms Tost's model. The second paper uses an experiment to test antecedents and outcomes of legitimacy judgments, finding that different types of rhetoric influence distinct dimensions of legitimacy. It further tests the effect of evaluator cultural values on this relationship. Emerging from this paper is the recognition of a dominant, overall legitimacy factor, reflecting the shared variance of the individual dimensions, as well as unique, meaningful variance possessed by each individual dimension. The third paper applies the instrument in order to test the relationship between business school-related values and the evaluation of social enterprise legitimacy. Results from this paper are largely mixed, but generally support the structure and validity of the instrument itself.


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Individual legitimacy judgments, Tost's model, Dimensions of legitimacy