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Published in: Journal of Business Ethics 4/2022

16-08-2020 | Original Paper

Individuals’ Perceptions of the Legitimacy of Emerging Market Multinationals: Ethical Foundations and Construct Validation

Authors: Jianhong Zhang, David L. Deephouse, Désirée van Gorp, Haico Ebbers

Published in: Journal of Business Ethics | Issue 4/2022

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Abstract

Entry of new organizations, including multinational enterprises from emerging markets (EMNEs), raises the ethical question of will they benefit society. The concept of legitimacy answers this question because it is the overall assessment of the appropriateness of organizational ends and means. Moreover, gaining legitimacy enables EMNEs to succeed in new host countries. Past work examined collective level indicators of the legitimacy of MNEs, but recent research recognizes the importance of individuals’ perceptions as the micro-foundation of legitimacy. This study first uses new pragmatism, deontology, and utilitarianism to demonstrate that legitimacy is fundamentally an ethical concept—a perspective that has been overlooked in management research. Second, this study uses a seven-step procedure to develop and validate a measure of individuals’ perceptions of the legitimacy of Chinese EMNEs operating in The Netherlands, a developed country. Six dimensions of legitimacy were identified. The study also finds support for this legitimacy judgment process linking the dimensions: validating knowledge → propriety judgments → generalized judgment. This work provides additional micro-foundations to research on legitimacy and contributes to the ongoing process of construct validation. Future research could use the validated measure in other settings and use specific ethical theories in depth to refine the concept of legitimacy.
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Footnotes
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To ensure the translation accuracy and cross-cultural equivalence, we use the collaborative approach proposed by Douglas and Craig (2007). In the first stage, two translators translated the questionnaire from English into Dutch separately. In the second stage, a review meeting was held with the translators and two independent reviewers (one Dutch native speaker and one English native speaker) to decide on the final version. There were two main tasks in the meeting: one was to resolve inconsistencies, and the other was to ensure that the questionnaire accurately captures the same meaning in each language.
 
3
Data retrieved in Oct. 2017 from https://​www.​cbs.​nl/​en-gb
 
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Metadata
Title
Individuals’ Perceptions of the Legitimacy of Emerging Market Multinationals: Ethical Foundations and Construct Validation
Authors
Jianhong Zhang
David L. Deephouse
Désirée van Gorp
Haico Ebbers
Publication date
16-08-2020
Publisher
Springer Netherlands
Published in
Journal of Business Ethics / Issue 4/2022
Print ISSN: 0167-4544
Electronic ISSN: 1573-0697
DOI
https://doi.org/10.1007/s10551-020-04599-x

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