Seminar: Engaging a crowd: How proponents’ cues to collectivistic and relational identity orientations boost the success of crowdfunding campaigns
During the seminar, Cristina Rossi-Lamastra will present her paper on Engaging a crowd: how proponents’ cues to collectivistic and relational identity orientations boost the success of crowdfunding campaigns (see below for an abstract). The paper builds on organizational identity, corporate and social responsibility, and marketing to investigate how a process of social identification affects the success of reward-based crowdfunding campaigns, using a dataset of 71,559 projects posted on Kickstarter to test the hypotheses.
Building on the theoretical framework of organizational identity orientation, this study advances the understanding of the mechanisms behind the success of reward-based crowdfunding campaigns. According to this framework, organizations conceive the relationship with their stakeholders in dependence of the well-being and interests of those stakeholders they particularly care about, and this defines their organizational identity orientation. Specifically, organizations interested in the well-being of a community or of the society as whole are defined as having a collectivistic identity orientation, those interested in the well-being of a specific group of stakeholders are defined as having a relational identity orientation, and those interested in their own well-being are defined as having an individualistic identity orientation. Maintaining that crowdfunding projects are (temporary) organizations and the backers are their stakeholders, we pose that cues to collectivistic and/or relational meanings in the project’s and rewards’ description play a role in constructing and communicating the identity orientations of the proponent, which, in turn, shape potential backers’ willingness to contribute. Particularly, we argue that cues evoking a set of meanings related to collectivistic or relational identities trigger a process of social identification between the potential backers and the project, motivating them to support to the project by engaging them through a process of social identification. Accordingly, these projects are more likely to be successful than projects with an individualistic identity orientation. In addition, we pose that relational and a collectivistic orientations are mutually reinforcing in driving projects toward success as they allow project proponents’ to capitalize on a larger set of backers’ motivations. We test our hypotheses using a dataset of 71,559 projects posted on Kickstarter over 3 years from 2011 until 2014. The results confirm our hypotheses, indicating that while collectivistic and relational identities orientations increase independently the chances of success, there is also a synergy between the two of them. In fact, projects that convey both cues to collectivistic and relational orientations have higher likelihood of gaining full support from the crowd. Implications for research in the emerging literature on crowdfunding and for literature on organizational identity orientations are discussed.
Daniela Defazio Research Associate, Innovation Policy Lab (IPL) Munk School of Global Affairs, University of Toronto, Toronto (Canada)
Chiara Franzoni Associate Professor, School of Management Polytechnic of Milan, Milan (Italy)
Cristina Rossi-Lamastra Associate Professor, School of Management Polytechnic of Milan, Milan (Italy)