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The organizational legitimacy of the Bauhaus

journal contribution
posted on 2005-01-01, 00:00 authored by Stella Minahan
Gaining and maintaining organizational legitimacy can be a major issue
for social and political structures such as cultural organizations. Legitimacy, sometimes called credibility, brings with it access to resources needed for survival and development. Organizations without legitimacy tend not to be successful in attracting grants, subsidies, and sponsorships. Research suggests that legitimate organizations may be seen as valuable social structures (Hybels 1995; Suchman 1995) and come to be “taken for granted” as part of the social fabric. In this article, I explore organizational legitimacy using the framework of institutional theory. I first define legitimacy and then discuss the key concepts of organizational legitimacy. Next, I present a case study based on an art/craft/design school. The school, known as the Bauhaus, existed between 1919 and 1933 in three German cities—Weimar, Dessau, and Berlin. Deterministic views of the pre–World War II environment suggest that the Nazi party was responsible for the closure of the Bauhaus. I argue that other factors were apparent. The Nazi regime was becoming a significant force in the late 1920s, but the story of the Bauhaus becomes more complex when viewed under the rubric of arts management and organizational legitimacy. In this article, I discuss how the Bauhaus sought and managed legitimacy and the role that the state and other actors played in granting that legitimacy. In conclusion, I offer a summary of the relevance of legitimacy to contemporary arts organizations.

History

Journal

Journal of arts management, law, and society

Volume

35

Issue

2

Season

Summer

Pagination

133 - 145

Publisher

Heldref Publications

Location

Washington, DC

ISSN

1063-2921

eISSN

1930-7799

Language

eng

Notes

Published by Heldref, a division of the nonprofit Helen Dwight Reid Educational Foundation

Publication classification

C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

2005, Heldref Publications