The Survival of the Unfittest: Delinquent corporations and the production of organisational legitimacy through symbolic-discursive fit
AbstractThe survival of so called ‘delinquent organisations’ is the topic of this article. A delinquent organisation should here be conveived of as an organisation engaged in activities regarded by the public and stakeholders as harmful, hazardous or even lethal. Examples of delinquent organisations comprise producers of tobacco or warfare material. It has been recognised in the literature on organisations that the creation and maintenance of organisational legitimacy, i.e. the degree of congruence between the organisation’s deeds and the values, norms and expectations in society. This article aims at bringing into the limelight the symbolic-discursive aspects of organisational legitimacy, that is to say the construction of a fit between the text (written and spoken) produced by a particular organisation and the cultural and ideological environment wherein this organisation operates. Drawing upon ideas from discourse theory, the tobacco producer Swedish Match is subjected to a close up study. More specifically, the empirical case selected is that of a lawsuit filed against Swedish Match in 1997 and the related textual responses produced and distributed in public media by the organisation. I present the argument that, in order to construct a symbolic-discursive fit, Swedish Match has to navigate in between two strong ideological poles: a social democratic heritage and an emerging corpus of neo-liberal ideas, two forces that provide both the rhetorical means for and restraint of the construction of organisational legitimacy.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Lund University, Institute of Economic Research in its series Working Paper Series with number 2005/5.
Length: 30 pages
Date of creation: 02 May 2005
Date of revision:
Contact details of provider:
Postal: Institutet för Ekonomisk Forskning, Box 7080, SE-220 07 LUND, Sweden
Phone: +46 46-222 32 61
Fax: +46 46-222 34 06
Web page: http://www.lri.lu.se/
More information through EDIRC
Organisational legitimacy; corporate reputation; delinquent corporation; Swedish Match; tobacco industry;
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2005-07-03 (All new papers)
- NEP-CBE-2005-07-03 (Cognitive & Behavioural Economics)
- NEP-HPE-2005-07-03 (History & Philosophy of Economics)
- NEP-REG-2005-07-03 (Regulation)
You can help add them by filling out this form.
reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.Access and download statisticsgeneral information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Elsbeth Andersson).
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.