The present study explores strategies used to legitimize the transfer of organizational practices in a situation of institutional upheaval. We apply the logic of social action (Risse, 2000) to analyze the effectiveness of consequence-based action and communication-based action, in terms of higher coordination, lower conflict, and overall higher economic performance. Consequence-based legitimation is obtained by using a system of distributor incentives tied to performance of specific tasks, while communicative legitimation can be achieved by recommendations and warnings. Our setting is an export channel to European emerging economies. Our results indicate that in the absence of legitimacy, as manifested in discretionary legal enforcement, consequence-based legitimation is more effective than communicative legitimation in reducing conflict, increasing coordination, and ultimately in improving the performance of the export dyad.
- discretionary legal enforcement
- export channels
- institutional theory
- transfer of organizational practices