The tool “building legitimacy”?

Here, we present a systematic procedure as a “tool” for those who want to build network’s legitimacy. The tool has two dimensions. First, there are different kinds of legitimacy, and second, we may build legitimacy on different societal levels. These two dimensions are illustrated in table 8.

Different kinds of legitimacy (Aldrich & Ruef, 2006):

  • Cognitive legitimacy: It involves creating positive attitudes in and around the network. This type of legitimacy may happen “indirectly through learning processes, or more directly by influencing stakeholders.
  • Socio-political legitimacy: The focus here is on creating a moral engagement beyond the minimum level suggested by laws and regulation, and in addition developing good relationships to political authorities, for instance in order to influence how laws and regulations are designed.

Table 8. Two dimensions in building legitimacy.

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Cognitive legitimacy Socio-political legitimacy
Create opportunities for learning and positive associations Appear serious and add something extra to get a moral engagement

Building legitimacy on various levels:

  • Organization: Member organizations support the network through specific actions
  • Network: Internal network processes that help integrate
  • Regionally: Developing relationships with neighboring networks and other key actors in order to disseminate competence and build alliances
  • Nationally: Close contact with institutions for research and education, and political institutions, etc.

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