Legitimacy and Reputation in the Institutional Field of Food Safety: A Public Relations Case Study

Henrik Merkelsen

    Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskriftTidsskriftartikelForskningpeer review


    The overall objective of this study is to examine how the institutional context of food safety affects and is affected by concerns for legitimacy and reputation. The paper employs a neo-institutional approach to analyzing the institutional field of food safety in a case study of a multinational food service provider where a tension between conflicting institutional logics implied a reputational challenge. The study shows how food safety as a well-defined operational risk is transformed into a high-priority reputational risk and how actors in the field of food safety are caught in a state of mutual distrust, partly as a consequence of an intense politicization of food risk over the past years and partly as a result of their respective concerns for legitimacy. The study points to how the field of food safety is colonized by a reputational logic that is paradoxically reproduced by actors at all organizational levels even though they strongly oppose to this logic.
    TidsskriftPublic Relations Inquiry
    Udgave nummer2
    Sider (fra-til)243-265
    StatusUdgivet - maj 2013


    • Food safety
    • Institutionalism
    • Legitimacy
    • Public relations
    • Risk