The impact of legitimacy strategies on the performance of companies
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New ventures face various difficulties to survive and growth. Due to the lack of proven track record resource gatekeepers are reluctant to engage in exchanges with nascent entrepreneurs. In order to acquire resources and to grow new firms must be perceived as legitimate by important stakeholders. Legitimacy can be viewed as a social judgment of acceptance, appropriateness, and/or desirability. Although researchers have recognized the importance of legitimacy for new venture success, research on new venture legitimacy is still in its infancy. Due to methodological problems earlier research lacks to empirically prove how legitimacy perceptions matter for firm performance. This research can be seen as a first attempt to empirically measure the influence of different legitimacy strategies on the performance of companies. A quantitative research is carried out in order to explore this relationship. Data is collected through a unique questionnaire. Indicators are developed by focusing on the interaction and communication between a firm and its environment and with the help of Rabobank and earlier theoretical research. Main findings in this research are that conforming strategies have especially an influence on financial capital and in a lesser extent on human capital. Transforming strategies have a positive influence on all performance indicators, in particular on human capital. The outcomes do not show an influence of resource acquisition on growth. This research contributes to institutional research and the legitimacy debate by examining the strategic implications of legitimacy strategies, and to the literature on entrepreneurship in general and new venture growth in particular.