When the petting zoo spawns into monsters

Sascha Naderer, a former master student at JKU Linz, and I published a paper on crowdfunding in the Journal “Organization: Innovation & Management” titled “When the petting zoo spawns into monsters: open dialogue and a venture’s legitimacy quest in crowdfunding.” (you can access the article also here).

We situate this paper within the cultural entrepreneurship literature (e.g., Lounsbury and Glynn, 2001). Our starting point is that the cultural entrepreneurship literature rests on the simple communication metaphor where an astute entrepreneur captivates a passive external audience, which, in turn, issues a positive social evaluation. Echoing more recent literature calling for seeing the entrepreneurial activity as interactive, dialogic processes, we inquired as to how two gaming ventures and their respective Kickstarter communities engage in a dialogue about what constitutes proper and accepted norms for a venture’s conduct during and after a crowdfunding campaign.

Rather than discussing our results here, I would like to make a note regarding our research design that is useful for those interested in studying crowdfunding. Most of the crowdfunding literature focuses on the campaign period (i.e., from announcing the call to the end of the campaign). However, from a legitimacy viewpoint, it does not only matter that a venture successfully raises money via the campaign but even more so what happens after the campaign. As Garud and colleagues (2014) remind us, a venture may likely depart from its original narrative due to the uncertainty of any entrepreneurial endeavor. Revising its narrative may result in criticism and pushback from the backers. Consequently, we study an entire crowdfunding project – that is the period from the start of the crowdfunding campaign to the venture realizing the promise made during the campaign (e.g., the product release).

The inspiration for the title was, by the way, an old pop cultural piece.

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