Stuck in the Middle: Maintaining the Organizational Legitimacy of the Regional Environmental Center

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Maintenance of legitimacy is central to the survival of any organization and is of particular importance to non-governmental organizations (NGO) reliant on external sources of income. Interaction with the external environment plays an important role in determining organizational legitimacy, shaping actions and determining opportunities. The ability of an organization to effectively respond to and influence the external environment can potentially strengthen its legitimacy. This paper considers the issue of organizational legitimacy by using resource dependence and institutional theories to analyze the development of the Regional Environmental Center for Central and Eastern Europe (REC). The findings indicate that it is possible for an organization to maintain legitimacy through adaptation, responding to the rise and fall of external opportunities and challenges. As predicted by institutional theory, it also argues that external environmental factors place increasing pressure for conformity over time, limiting scope to manoeuvre over the longer-term.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)339
Number of pages357
JournalVoluntas: International Journal of Voluntary and Nonprofit Organizations
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 19 Mar 2010


  • Regional Environmental Center
  • Resource Dependence
  • Institutional Theory
  • East Central Europe
  • Support Organizations

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