Sustainable ventures often lack legitimacy (perceived to be desirable and appropriate) because various stakeholder groups use contradictory institutions (rules and norms) to make their judgements, which leads to there being fewer resources available and higher failure rates. Using an institutional theory framework and a multi-case research design with 15 biofuel ventures operating in the Netherlands, this study asks how sustainable entrepreneurs attempt to gain legitimacy in these circumstances. Analysis reveals that the entrepreneurs use a combination of rhetorical, reconciliatory and institutional change strategies to obtain legitimacy from different stakeholder groups. These findings further our understanding of sustainable entrepreneurial behavior by revealing how and why different legitimation strategies are used in complex institutional environments.
- Institutional embeddedness
- Institutional entrepreneurship
- Legitimation strategies
- Sustainable entrepreneurship