Collaborative stakeholder engagement: An integration between theories of organizational legitimacy and learning

Vinit M Desai
Academy of Management Journal,Vol. 61, Issue 1, Pages: 220-244.
Organizations often collaborate with stakeholders such as customers, communities, and other groups to pursue shared goals, and these partnerships are known to affect an organization’s legitimacy with those groups as well as its access to information from them. While these concerns could be examined within each of their own independent literatures, existing theories are ill equipped to handle this process in tandem. Thus, studying these collaborations provides an opportunity to more broadly explore how organizations balance knowledge search or exploration efforts with their needs to manage organizational legitimacy. Accordingly, I suggest that collaboration facilitates access to external information, and that organizations pursue it when the information is needed to solve related problems. However, I also argue that collaborations reciprocally allow stakeholders to more directly scrutinize organizational practices