In this paper we explore the constitutive effects of a legitimate order on the mobilization of collective action. We distinguish between validity (the collective orientation to a binding rule) and propriety (an individual's approval of the rule). Legitimacy theory suggests that validity has direct effects on attempts to mobilize which are independent of propriety, power, and social control. A laboratory study is used to isolate these direct effects: when change in a communication network would damage collective purpose, fewer attempts at change are made. Further results reveal that validity also affects nonmobilizing alternatives. Moreover, validity indirectly influences propriety: individuals act out commitment to the constitutive rules and then bring propriety into line with that action. We conclude by noting implications of the structural effects of legitimacy on collective action.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Sociology and Political Science