Reputation and legitimacy: Key factors for Higher Education Institutions’ sustained competitive advantage

Giorgia Miotto, Cristina Del-Castillo-Feito, Alicia Blanco-González

Research output: Indexed journal article Articlepeer-review

104 Citations (Scopus)


Globalization, rankings, and the decrease of public funding have created a highly competitive environment for public universities. Internal and external stakeholders increasingly demand better results in term of research, teaching, knowledge transfer, employability, and community outreach. In this new landscape, intangible assets such as reputation and legitimacy are key factors for gaining a sustained competitive advantage. And yet, here remains a lack of clarity about these variables and their relationships. This research aims to increase our understanding of the field by measuring how reputation, by way of its influence on legitimacy, can create a sustained competitive advantage for public universities. We measure reputation and legitimacy by surveying 509 professors from 47 different Spanish universities, considering pragmatic, moral and cognitive legitimacy types and analyze reputation in terms of performance, innovation, citizenship, services, governance, and workplace climate. According to faculty members, a university's reputation has a significative and positive effect on its legitimacy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)342-353
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Business Research
Publication statusPublished - May 2020


  • Higher education
  • Legitimacy
  • Reputation
  • Sustainable competitive advantage


Dive into the research topics of 'Reputation and legitimacy: Key factors for Higher Education Institutions’ sustained competitive advantage'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this