Technology legitimation: A product-level examination across the technology lifecycle

Raluca Bunduchi*, Marina Candi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Legitimacy is an important explanatory factor for the success or failure of new products, but how individual actors engage in legitimation is not well understood. We focus on two categories of actors: the firms that develop and commercialise new technology-based products and the customers who evaluate these products and examine their legitimation behaviour across the technology lifecycle. Drawing from organisation research, innovation studies and product innovation literatures, we posit that firms’ legitimacy-seeking behaviour varies across the technology lifecycle depending on the need for legitimacy in each stage, while customers’ emphasis varies depending on the relative importance they ascribe to each type of legitimacy. We test these hypotheses by examining online data about products that span four stages of the technology lifecycle. We advance a micro-level understanding of technology legitimation by demonstrating that firms’ efforts to seek legitimacy and customers’ emphasis on legitimacy for new technology-based products are distinct phenomena underpinned by different mechanisms. We expand the scope of existing technology legitimation research by examining how firms’ efforts and customers’ emphases vary across the technology lifecycle.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages18
JournalBritish Journal of Management
Early online date10 Nov 2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 10 Nov 2021


  • legitimation
  • legitimacy
  • innovation
  • technology lifecycle
  • technology-based innovation


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