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Article

Navigating Input and Output Legitimacy in Multi-Stakeholder Initiatives: Institutional Stewards at Work

1
Department of Management, Society and Communication, Copenhagen Business School, 2000 Frederiksberg, Denmark
2
International Affairs Program, Lafayette College, Easton, PA 18042, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sustainability 2019, 11(23), 6621; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11236621
Received: 19 October 2019 / Revised: 19 November 2019 / Accepted: 21 November 2019 / Published: 23 November 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Common-Pool Resources and Sustainability)
Multi-stakeholder initiatives (MSIs) are a form of private governance sometimes used to manage the social and environmental impacts of supply chains. We argue that there is a potential tension between input and output legitimacy in MSIs. Input legitimacy requires facilitating representation from a wide range of organizations with heterogeneous interests. This work, however, faces collective action problems that could lead to limited ambitions, lowering output legitimacy. We find that, under the right conditions a relatively small group of motivated actors, who we call institutional stewards, may be willing to undertake the cost and labor of building and maintaining the MSI. This can help reconcile the tension between input and output legitimacy in a formal sense, though it also results in inequalities in power. We test this claim using a case study of organizations’ activities in the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO). We find that a small group of founding members—and other members of long tenure—account for a disproportionate level of activity in the organization. View Full-Text
Keywords: palm oil; Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO); institutional work; institutional stewards; multi-stakeholder initiatives (MSIs); legitimacy; sustainability; certification palm oil; Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO); institutional work; institutional stewards; multi-stakeholder initiatives (MSIs); legitimacy; sustainability; certification
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MDPI and ACS Style

Kruuse, M.; Reming Tangbæk, K.; Jespersen, K.; Gallemore, C. Navigating Input and Output Legitimacy in Multi-Stakeholder Initiatives: Institutional Stewards at Work. Sustainability 2019, 11, 6621. https://doi.org/10.3390/su11236621

AMA Style

Kruuse M, Reming Tangbæk K, Jespersen K, Gallemore C. Navigating Input and Output Legitimacy in Multi-Stakeholder Initiatives: Institutional Stewards at Work. Sustainability. 2019; 11(23):6621. https://doi.org/10.3390/su11236621

Chicago/Turabian Style

Kruuse, Mikkel, Kasper Reming Tangbæk, Kristjan Jespersen, and Caleb Gallemore. 2019. "Navigating Input and Output Legitimacy in Multi-Stakeholder Initiatives: Institutional Stewards at Work" Sustainability 11, no. 23: 6621. https://doi.org/10.3390/su11236621

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