The emergence of electronic commerce raises important questions about the building and leveraging of legitimacy for both practitioners and scholars of strategy. New entrants' click-and-mortar or click-and-click business models are challenging the legitimacy of large and mature brick-and-mortar incumbents. The implications of this challenge for the financial services industry—as for many other industries—are only starting to become clear. This article contributes to these initial understandings by developing a conceptual framework that considers which e-strategies ‘bricks’ (incumbent organisations such as ABN AMRO bank and Prudential Banking) and ‘clicks’ (new entrants such as KPN and First-e) adopt to improve their competitiveness. Four relevant organisational types in the emerging online financial services industry are identified, and ties to legitimacy-providing organisations are assessed for their potential both as buffers against environmental turbulence and bridges towards changing stakeholder perspectives.

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Hensmans, M., van den Bosch, F.A.J., & Volberda, H.W.. (2001). Clicks versus Bricks in the Emerging Online Financial Services Industry. Long Range Planning, 34(2), 231–247. doi:10.1016/S0024-6301(01)00030-9