Organizational legitimacy is a sign of the acceptability of an organization’s behavior in its environment, and is the keystone for new ventures to obtain entrepreneurial resources in Metaverse. Acquiring and managing organizational legitimacy requires continuous communication between the organization and legitimacy evaluators under specific legitimacy thresholds. Previous research has focused on the identity differences of legitimacy evaluators among different groups and the single changes in legitimacy thresholds in different developmental stages or industries, but has overlooked the phenomenon of reduced communication effectiveness due to multiple identity connections between the same legitimacy evaluation group and the organization, as well as the multidimensional and dynamic changes in legitimacy thresholds under unique industry characteristics and changing contexts.
Based on a typical case study of Spaceboo, a new venture in Metaverse that overcame the challenge of organizational legitimacy, this paper explores the core issue of how the disruptive features of Metaverse affect the acquisition and management of organizational legitimacy. Four legitimacy acquisition strategies are proposed to address the legitimacy crisis composed of four specific legitimacy challenges arising from the technological and industrial features of Metaverse, which jointly establish differentiated organizational legitimacy through compensatory and distinguishing mechanisms. In response to the changing legitimacy thresholds caused by the rapidly changing industry environment of Metaverse, continuous evaluation of internal and external environments is utilized to guide legitimacy management. This paper summarizes the relationship between Metaverse features and organizational legitimacy challenges, extracts seven theoretical dimensions, including the complexity of legitimacy threshold, the obstacle of legitimacy acquisition, the supplement of legitimacy characteristics, the enrichment of legitimacy characteristics, the re-assessment of legitimacy variation, the adjustment of legitimacy identity, and the value proposition of legitimacy, and constructs a three-stage legitimacy acquisition and management mechanism model for new ventures in Metaverse: legitimacy deficiency, legitimacy acquisition, and legitimacy management. This model elucidates the inherent logic of new ventures to overcome Metaverse legitimacy challenges and emphasize the contingency relationship between the organization and user community in the legitimacy acquisition process by examining spatio-temporal dynamics of legitimacy thresholds and complex identity in legitimacy judgment.
The related mechanism model discussed in this paper highlights the limitations of Metaverse features at the current stage and expands the basic assumptions of organizational legitimacy, providing practical inspiration for entrepreneurial organizations in Metaverse that are trying to legitimize.