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Reassessing the moral legitimacy of institutionalized practices in times of instability

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Anesa M., Spee P., Gillespie N., Petani F. J.
Journal Article
The presence of conflicting cues about what is legitimate provided by various stakeholders, begs the question of how the legitimacy of contested institutionalized practices is justified. Recent critique of tax minimization strategies exemplifies this difficulty: on one hand, practitioners need to increase shareholders’ profits; on the other, a growing number of stakeholders push for ‘fairer’ corporate tax payments. Conducted during a time of public criticism of Australian corporate tax strategies, our study draws on justifications of corporate tax minimization strategies by senior tax practitioners and corporate submissions to a Senate Inquiry on corporate tax avoidance. The study explores how legitimacy judgements come under pressure by conflicting cues. Through the application of Boltanski and Thévenot’s (2006) Economies of Worth (EW) framework, we advance legitimacy scholarship by clarifying what constitutes situated judgements in times of instability. Our work puts forward the concept of perceived forecasted consensus as a guide for individuals in making situated legitimacy judgements in times of instability.
Journal of Management Studies
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legitimacy judgements, economies of worth, moral legitimacy, institutional plurality, corporate tax minimization, justifications