The Legitimacy of Sustainability Standards: A Paradox Perspective

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Abstrakt

This conceptual paper discusses the diffusion-impact paradox of sustainability standards. While standards need to diffuse quickly to create perceptions of success and inevitability (cognitive legitimacy) and hence often have incentives to set low entry barriers, they, at the same time, also have to ensure that participants do not greenwash and create high levels of impact (moral legitimacy). We unpack this paradox and show that its salience for standard setters differs depending on (a) the growth trajectory of a standard and (b) the perceived intensity of the demands underlying the paradox. Based on this, we outline five response strategies that standard setters can use to cope with the paradox. We illustrate our theoretical remarks through a detailed case study of the UN Global Compact. Our arguments contribute to the literature on sustainability standards as well as the scholarly discussion of legitimacy in the context of socioenvironmental governance.
OriginalsprogEngelsk
TitelProceedings of the Eighty-First Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management
RedaktørerSonia Taneja
Antal sider6
UdgivelsesstedBriarcliff Manor, NY
ForlagAcademy of Management
Publikationsdato2021
Artikelnummer43
DOI
StatusUdgivet - 2021
BegivenhedThe Academy of Management Annual Meeting 2021: Bringing the Manager Back in Management - Online
Varighed: 29 jul. 20214 aug. 2021
Konferencens nummer: 81
https://aom.org/events/annual-meeting

Konference

KonferenceThe Academy of Management Annual Meeting 2021
Nummer81
LokationOnline
Periode29/07/202104/08/2021
Internetadresse
NavnAcademy of Management Proceedings
ISSN0065-0668

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