Exploring social cognition in an international context: insights from the social representations perspective on legitimacy among French entrepreneurs


  • Ghods Ali
  • Ricard Antonin
  • Aldebert Bénédicte


  • Cognition
  • Exploratory study
  • International entrepreneurship
  • Legitimacy
  • Social representations
  • Context

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In the field of international entrepreneurship, there are increasing calls for the study of cognition in its social context. In this regard, this article draws on social representations theory to explore and better understand the cognition of entrepreneurs. The objective of the present study is to explore the social representation of legitimacy among different social groups and show how these collective images vary depending on the context in which entrepreneurs operate. By applying social representations theory to data gathered from a sample of 150 French entrepreneurs, we construct a framework that elucidates social development and the changes that influence entrepreneurs’ decision-making. In addition, this article reveals a new avenue of study in relation to legitimacy from a collective perspective.

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