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First summer University on Entrepreneurial Legitimacy

According to recent research, firm performance may be explained by the capabilities of firms to answer the evaluation coming from several  takeholders such as clients (Elmholdt, 2016; Wang, Song, Zhao, 2014), suppliers (Liao, Liu, 2016; Low, Johnston, Wang, 2007), or investors (Certo, 2003; Homburg, Hahn, Bornemann, Sandner, 2014). Through these interactions, stakeholders develop a social judgment toward an object (the firm) in a social environment (Deephouse et al., 2017; Fisher, Kotha, & Lahiri, 2015). In other words, stakeholders act after they evaluate the legitimacy of the firm. 

Entrepreneurial legitimacy is a key element in this evaluation process as legitimacy is known to foster the survival of nascent firms (Delmar & Scott, 2014). Surprisingly, legitimacy has mainly been looked at from a theoretical perspective (Greenwood et al., 2017). Vergne (2011) is one of the few attempts to operationalize the concept and to develop a composite measure of legitimacy. The limited amount of work dedicated to legitimacy from a methodological and practical standpoint is a clear indication of the complex nature of this concept (Bitektine, 2011; Castelló, Etter, Årup Nielsen, 2016; Bitektine & Haack, 2015). 

The aim of this conference is to investigate the operationalization of this concept further by calling up work on the following themes:

  • multilevel analysis of legitimacy;
  • the process of legitimation;
  • how to acquire legitimacy through network or incubation process;
  • Legitimacy as a strategic or critical resource;
  • Legitimacy and social networks: a new way to assess the performance of the start-ups?
  • Legitimacy and internationalization.

To foster the discussion between practitioners and researchers this conference is split between formal presentation of papers in the morning and discussion in round tables in the afternoon. Given the current sanitary situation this conference contemplates two modalities of participation: face to face and virtual. However, at this moment we are only accepting submissions for virtual participation. If the situation changes and we feel the safety of our participants would not be at risk, we will start accepting submissions for face-to-face participation, and those authors who submitted their article for virtual participation will have the ability to change their participation modality to face-to-face, if they wish. Papers should not exceed 3000 words (including references). Submissions may be in English or French and should be sent to

3 April 2021 (midnight CET) : Deadline to submit your paper

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