Organizations devote significant resources to the process of external legitimation of their activities. This paper focuses on a particular aspect of this process, espoused values. We begin by drawing on the organizational culture literature to predict the kinds of values that will be externally espoused in the order to test the predictions, an innovative content analysis coding scheme was developed and used to identify and differentiate espoused values. These externally espoused values were, then, related to the strategic and financial behaviors of the 100 organizations in the sample. Specifically, the relationship between different types of externally espoused values and financial performance is discussed. The results of this study suggest a means of filling critical gaps in two research tradtions: external legitimation and organizational culture.