Strong ties, personality, and legitimacy of entrepreneurs: the case of private physicians

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Gundolf, K., Cesinger, B., Géraudel, M., & Filser, M. (2017). Strong ties, personality, and legitimacy of entrepreneurs: the case of private physicians. International Journal of Entrepreneurial Venturing, 9(4), 346-372. (ABS_2021: 1; VHB_3: B)

Publication type

Article in Scientific Journal


Legitimacy is crucial for entrepreneurs. It is the cornerstone for creating relationships with stakeholders and mitigating resource constraints. But, other-referent legitimacy is also related to the cognitive image of individual legitimacy. Drawing on the identity-based model of legitimacy, we argue that personality traits (big five) and social capital (strong ties) of entrepreneurs impact self-perceived legitimacy of entrepreneurs. Based on survey data of 98 German private physicians, this paper examines antecedents of self-perceived legitimacy towards two main stakeholders: patients and peers. We find that high levels of agreeableness stimulate self-perceived legitimacy towards patients and peers, whereas openness to experience solely influences physicians' self-perceived legitimacy towards patients. In addition, our results highlight the contingent effect of personality traits by underlining the role of strong ties as a moderator of the relationship between personality traits and self-perceived legitimacy. By identifying these configurations we contribute to the literature on entrepreneurship with a refined perspective of antecedents of self-perceived legitimacy. Moreover, we give recommendations on how private physicians can benefit from two personality traits - agreeableness and openness to experience - and how they can manage weak and strong ties in order to diffuse their reputation.


Organizational Units

  • Institute for Entrepreneurship
  • Chair of Entrepreneurship and Leadership

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