Organizational Legitimacy, Capacity, and Capacity Development

  • By: European Centre for Development Policy Management (ECDPM)
  • Published Date: June 2005
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The European Centre for Development Policy Management (ECDPM) has undertaken a study of capacity development, with a focus on organizational change and performance enhancement.Both individual organizations and networks of organizations have been studied with the aim of identifying important relationships among endogenous change factors. This exploratory paper reviews the relevant literature and examines: differing definitions, types and sources of legitimacy; the links between legitimacy and organizational capacity, performance and sustainability; and management strategies for building and maintaining legitimacy. The document describes three types of legitimacy. Normative legitimacy: Organization reflects acceptable and desirable norms, standards, and values. Pragmatic legitimacy: Organization fulfils needs and interested of its stakeholders and constituents. Cognitive legitimacy: Organization pursues goals and activities that fit with broad social understandings of what is appropriate, proper and desirable.