This chapter presents the problem of legitimacy as the central question of the philosophy of management and corporations. This problem is then presented with the economic theory of Adam Smith and with the concept of legitimacy from Max Weber. Further on, the contributions of recent theories to the question of legitimacy of the corporation in the modern world are presented, in particular, a number of American approaches that are related to institutional theory and recent efforts to determine the legitimacy of management and corporations. Finally, we briefly discuss Habermas’s concept of legitimacy as the foundation of corporate citizenship.
Handbook of the Philosophical Foundations of Business Ethics, 2013, p. 1409-1432