Inequality, corporate legitimacy and the Occupy Wall Street movement

Paul Shrivastava, Olga Ivanova

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


This exploratory study examines legitimacy challenges to business spawned by growing inequalities. It uses aesthetic inquiry in the context of the Occupy Wall Street movement to understand the processes of organizational legitimation and delegitimation. By studying photos of slogans and placards from the Occupy Wall Street movement, we show how corporate and business legitimacy are challenged by the public. We identify different types of legitimacy challenges across organizational systems’ levels. We explore implications of these challenges for corporations and the use of aesthetic strategies as delegitimation signals by Occupy Wall Street protesters in order to express their support or discontent with existing norms, values and standards.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1209-1231
Number of pages23
JournalHuman Relations
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 8 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • General Social Sciences
  • Strategy and Management
  • Management of Technology and Innovation


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