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Journal Articles Journal of Management Inquiry Year : 2018

Let’s Not “Taint” Stigma Research With Legitimacy, Please

Wesley Helms
  • Function : Author
Karen Patterson
  • Function : Author


We propose that stigma and legitimacy are distinct constructs. Drawing from extant research, empirical observations, and the theoretical assumptions of both constructs we assert that, in spite of increasing efforts to equate stigma as illegitimacy, the opposite of legitimacy, that it is not. Specifically, we argue that organizations and their actors can be both stigmatized and legitimate at the same time. With this recognized, we propose a stigma-focused research agenda, separate from - and untainted by - legitimacy. Further, we propose an agenda that broadens conceptualizations of audiences and their dynamics, addresses how normal “deviants” take action in the face of stigma, and reconceptualises how audiences and the stigmatized interact.

Dates and versions

hal-02572140 , version 1 (13-05-2020)



Wesley Helms, Karen Patterson, Bryant Ashley Hudson. Let’s Not “Taint” Stigma Research With Legitimacy, Please. Journal of Management Inquiry, 2018, 28 (1), pp.5-10. ⟨10.1177/1056492618790896⟩. ⟨hal-02572140⟩
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