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Legitimacy Disputes and Social Amplification of Perceived Risk
Unformatted Document Text:  Legitimacy & Social Amplification of Risk Perceptions     4   on collaborative communication practices for symbiotic outcomes (Chess, Saville, et al., 1992; Chess, Tamuz, et al., 1992; Sutcliffe, 2001). Legitimacy Disputes for Government Risk Communication Organizational legitimacy is generally defined as “a perceived congruence between social values associated with organizational activities and the norms of acceptable behavior in the larger system” (Pfeffer & Salancik, 1978, 159). Organizations attempt to maintain legitimacy in a wide variety of non-crisis public relations situations from trademark protection to altering product packaging or log to changing its policy (Boyd, 2000). Organizational legitimacy becomes more crucial in managing issues during the crisis situation. An organization, especially during the crisis, makes its best effort to portray itself as having enough legitimacy in a good alignment with widely held and representative beliefs, ideas, and practices (Kernisky, 1997). Organizational legitimacy affects not only how publics understand the situation but also how they react to an organization during the crisis situations (Suchman, 1995). To be perceived legitimate, thus, an organization during the crisis situation should not only consider key stakeholders’ interests and needs, but they also implement responsible and ethically acceptable public relations practices. Previous literature discerns three types of legitimacy: pragmatic, normative, and cognitive legitimacy (Brinkerhoff, 2005; Humphreys, 2010; Ju & Tang, in press; Suchman, 1995; Zeitz, Mittal, & McAulay, 1999; Zimmerman & Zeitz, 2002). While these different types of legitimacy can be distinctive conceptually and analytically, they are often perceived in a mixed and multi-faceted way in practice (Brinkerhoff, 2005).

Authors: Lim, Joon Soo., Mun, Kwansik. and Yang, Sung-Un.
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Legitimacy & Social Amplification of Risk Perceptions   
 
 
4  
on collaborative communication practices for symbiotic outcomes (Chess, Saville, et al., 
1992; Chess, Tamuz, et al., 1992; Sutcliffe, 2001).  
Legitimacy Disputes for Government Risk Communication  
Organizational legitimacy is generally defined as “a perceived congruence 
between social values associated with organizational activities and the norms of 
acceptable behavior in the larger system” (Pfeffer & Salancik, 1978, 159). Organizations 
attempt to maintain legitimacy in a wide variety of non-crisis public relations situations 
from trademark protection to altering product packaging or log to changing its policy 
(Boyd, 2000).  
Organizational legitimacy becomes more crucial in managing issues during the 
crisis situation. An organization, especially during the crisis, makes its best effort to 
portray itself as having enough legitimacy in a good alignment with widely held and 
representative beliefs, ideas, and practices (Kernisky, 1997).  
Organizational legitimacy affects not only how publics understand the situation 
but also how they react to an organization during the crisis situations (Suchman, 1995). 
To be perceived legitimate, thus, an organization during the crisis situation should not 
only consider key stakeholders’ interests and needs, but they also implement responsible 
and ethically acceptable public relations practices. Previous literature discerns three types 
of legitimacy: pragmatic, normative, and cognitive legitimacy (Brinkerhoff, 2005; 
Humphreys, 2010; Ju & Tang, in press; Suchman, 1995; Zeitz, Mittal, & McAulay, 1999; 
Zimmerman & Zeitz, 2002). While these different types of legitimacy can be distinctive 
conceptually and analytically, they are often perceived in a mixed and multi-faceted way 
in practice (Brinkerhoff, 2005).  


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