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

Katherine Gundolf, Beate Cesinger, Mickaël Géraudel, Matthias Filser

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)346-372
Number of pages27
JournalInternational Journal of Entrepreneurial Venturing
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Personality traits
  • Physicians
  • Self-perceived legitimacy
  • Social capital


Dive into the research topics of 'Strong ties, personality, and legitimacy of entrepreneurs: The case of private physicians'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this