Legitimacy, Forms of

Legitimacy is a general perception or assumption that a social entity and its actions are desirable, appropriate, or worthy of support. Legitimacy may refer to a broad range of social entities or actions, including governments, authorities, organizations, individuals, borders, and resource distributions. Legitimacy is important as people internalize the values and norms of what they view as legitimate authorities. People are also more likely to voluntarily comply with commands and requests as well as independently pursue goals commensurate with the authorities’ goals. Legitimacy reduces authorities’ reliance on costly and unreliable incentives or sanctions, and it generates behaviors that sustain social order and stability.

Legitimacy takes different forms; different forms of legitimacy represent different claims and justification for authority. They also reflect different concerns and evaluative processes ...

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