Emergence, Newness and Growth
Edited by Candida G. Brush, Lars Kolvereid, L. Øystein Widding and Roger Sørheim
Chapter 5: A Longitudinal Study of Community Venture Emergence through Legitimacy Building
Ingebjørg Vestrum and Einar Rasmussen INTRODUCTION While most entrepreneurship studies have looked at the emergence of new commercial ventures, this study keys into the start-up process of non-profit community ventures (CVs). CVs seek to create social values for their community and are likely to stimulate social and cultural life, increase business development and possibly strengthen the identity of communities. CVs contribute to revitalizing communities hit by structural change, which are experiencing economic stagnation or decline or are facing the challenge of depopulation (Johannisson, 1990; Johnstone and Lionais, 2004). Most communities have numerous organizations aiming to solve social and societal problems and create welfare. Still, this important type of organizational creation is vastly under-researched in previous entrepreneurship studies (Mair and Martí, 2006; Peredo and McLean, 2006). One of the greatest challenges for entrepreneurs is that they lack the legitimacy needed for resource providers to believe their nascent venture is proper. The legitimacy perspective has added important contributions to the commercial entrepreneurship literature (Zimmerman and Zeitz, 2002; Tornikoski and Newbert, 2007). Legitimacy is seen as a resource needed to get access to other critical resources for a new venture (Lounsbury and Glynn, 2001; Zimmerman and Zeitz, 2002). The issue of gaining legitimacy has not been addressed in the community entrepreneurship literature. This chapter aims to build theory through an exploratory study designed to answer the following research question: how do nascent CVs build legitimacy? We propose that gaining legitimacy is relevant for emerging CVs in particular. CVs are not driven by...
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