Journal article

Market Mediators and the Trade-offs of Legitimacy-Seeking Behaviors in a Nascent Category

Brandon H Lee, Shon R Hiatt, Michael Lounsbury



Although existing research has demonstrated the importance of attaining legitimacy for new market categories, few scholars have considered the trade-offs associated with such actions. Using the U.S. organic food product category as a context, we explore how one standards-based certification organization-the California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF)-sought to balance efforts to legitimate a nascent market category with retaining a shared, distinctive identity among its members. Our findings suggest that legitimacy-seeking behaviors undertaken by the standards organization diluted the initial collective identity and founding ethos of its membership. However, by shifting the meaning of "organ..

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University of Melbourne Researchers


Funding Acknowledgements

The authors gratefully acknowledge funding from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation and the Deloitte Institute of Innovation and Entrepreneurship at London Business School.