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Political legitimacy concerns the foundation of authority and the obligations of government and organizational leaders. Consent of the governed or managed exists in accordance with the degree of legitimacy that operates between the leadership and the led, which shifts in relation to events, perceptions, and preferences.

In a political context, legitimate government requires its citizens to limit direct democracy and transfer authority to the representative model. In a theocracy, political leaders look to a deity as the source of legitimacy. In hereditary monarchy, a legitimate king or queen is a person with a certain parentage.

International business complicates political legitimacy when cross-border activities raise questions in relation to who should govern such activities when sovereignty is contested. The onset of globalization through the flow of trade, money, ...

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