This article examines organizational legitimacy within a volatile socio-political context. Drawing on qualitative data from non-profit organizations (NPOs) in the Russian Federation, we explore the question of how organizations gain regulatory legitimacy in such an uncertain and hostile socio-political context. Our study highlights that in such a context, the state often fails to grant regulatory legitimacy to NPOs. In response, NPOs seek to achieve regulatory legitimacy via symbolic acts and supplement these with a range of substantive activities. Such actions help demonstrate organizational effectiveness to the government and generate trust with individuals in the regional state apparatus. We show that regulatory legitimacy requires a more nuanced examination in contexts that make it difficult for organizations to routinize its attainment. Thus, our article contributes to legitimacy theory by exploring how key aspects of organizational legitimacy are conditioned and constituted by the socio-political context.
- Regulatory Legitimacy
- Russian Federation
- Institute for Social Responsibility