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JournalofBusinessResearch
journal homepage:
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Rewardcrowdfundingcontributionasplannedbehaviour:Anextended
framework
RotemShneor
a,
,ZiaulHaqueMunim
b
a
Dept.ofStrategyandManagement,SchoolofBusinessandLaw,UniversityofAgder,Gimlemoen19,4630Kristiansand,Norway
b
Dept.ofMaritimeOperations,FacultyofTechnology,NaturalSciencesandMaritimeSciences,UniversityofSouthEastern,Norway
ARTICLEINFO
Keywords:
Crowdfunding
Theoryofplannedbehavior
Attitude
Self-efficacy
Perceivedbehavioralcontrol
Subjectivenorms
ABSTRACT
Reward crowdfunding is a popular channel for entrepreneurial fundraising, whereby backers receive non-
monetarybenefitsinreturnformonetarycontributionswhileacceptingrisksofnon-deliveryoncampaignpitch
promises.Tounderstandcontributionbehaviorinthiscontext,weapplytheTheoryofPlannedBehavior(TPB)
foranalyzingcontributionintentionalityandbehavior,aswellastheirantecedents.Weusesurveydatafrom560
usersofFinland'sleadingrewardcrowdfundingplatform–Mesenaatti.OurfindingsshowthatanextendedTPB
modelholdsforrewardcrowdfundingandthatbothfinancial-contributionintentionsandinformation-sharing
intentionspredictbehavior.Thishighlightsthedualnatureofrewardcrowdfunding-contributionintentionsand
behavior, where information sharing helps reduce information asymmetry and serves as a quality signal in
support of financial contribution. This paper also presents significant differences in attitudes, self-efficacy, fi-
nancialcontributionandinformation-sharingintentionsbetweenhigh-sumandlow-sumcontributors.
1. Introduction
Crowdfunding is an emerging channel for entrepreneurial and
project funding, which has seen exponential growth in recent years,
reaching a volume of EUR 262 billion in 2016, a 208% increase from
EUR130billionin2015(Ziegleretal.,2018).Crowdfundingrefersto
the ability to obtain funding from multiple backers with each backer
providingarelativelysmallamount,insteadofraisinglargesumsfrom
a few backers (Belleflamme, Lambert, & Schwienbacher, 2014). This
process is usually performed online and often without standard fi-
nancialintermediaries(Mollick,2014).
Crowdfunding can be viewed as community-enabled financing,
drawing on theprinciplesof crowdsourcing,while being adaptedinto
thecontextoffundraising(Macht&Weatherston,2015).Thankstoits
anchoring in communities, crowdfunding incorporates advantages be-
yond the actual sums raised from interested members. Such benefits
include access to valuable and timely feedback, knowledge and tech-
nologytoconceptsunderdevelopment(Gerber&Hui,2013;
Nucciarelli
et al., 2017), demonstration of project legitimacy (Frydrych, Bock,
Kinder,&Koeck,2014),aswellasdirectaccessto,andinteractionwith,
multiplestakeholderssuchasprospectivecustomers,businesspartners,
media, existing, future funders, etc. (Mollick & Kuppuswamy, 2014).
Moreover, from an entrepreneurial perspective, crowdfunding may be
used throughout the entrepreneurial process, from opportunity
recognition to marshaling of resources and capacity development
(Shneor&Flåten,2015).
Nevertheless, crowdfunding is manifested via a family of different
modelsratherthanthroughasingleformat.Theprimarycrowdfunding
modelsincludelending,equity,reward,anddonation.Whereaslending
andequityareviewedasinvestmentmodels,rewardanddonationare
regarded as non-investment models. Clarifying and elaborating on
Ziegleretal.'s(2018)
definitions,thevariousmodelsmaybedefinedas
follows: In
peer-to-peer lending
individuals or institutional funders pro-
vide loans to borrowers with the expectation of repayment of the
principal and a set interest within a certain timeframe. In
equity
crowdfunding
individuals or institutional funders buy an ownership
stake in a company or organization. In
reward crowdfunding
backers
provide funding to individuals, projects, or organizations in exchange
for non-monetary rewards, products, or services. And, finally, in
do-
nationcrowdfunding
backersprovidefundingbasedonphilanthropicor
civicmotivationswithnoexpectationofmonetaryormaterialreward.
However, while the above review captures the four core models, var-
iationsandcombinationsofthemdoexist(Ziegleretal.,2018).
A popular channel for entrepreneurs to raise funding for their
ventures is reward crowdfunding. In 2016, reward crowdfunding vo-
lumes were estimated at EUR 191 million in Europe (Ziegler et al.,
2018),USD598millionintheAmericas(Ziegleretal.,2017),andUSD
2.08billioninAsia-Pacific(Garveyetal.,2017).Rewardcrowdfunding
https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jbusres.2019.06.013
Received4August2018;Receivedinrevisedform7June2019;Accepted8June2019
Correspondingauthor.
E-mailaddresses:
rotem.shneor@uia.no
(R.Shneor),
ziaul.h.munim@usn.no
(Z.H.Munim).
Journal of Business Research 103 (2019) 56–70
0148-2963/ © 2019 The Author(s). Published by E
lsevier Inc. This is an open access article under the CC BY license
(http://creativecommons.org/licenses/BY/4.0/).
T
represents a unique offering. On the one hand, it does not offer a
monetaryrewardforriskstaken,asinthecaseofinvestment.However,
on the other hand, it represents financial transactions that are asso-
ciated with the relatively high risks of full or partial non-delivery, as
wellaslateordeviatingdeliverywithrespecttotheoriginalcampaign
pitchpromises.Moreover,pre-salesviarewardcrowdfundingresembles
abusiness-planpitchingmorethantraditionaladvertisements,astheir
focus is on demonstrating legitimacy (Frydrych et al., 2014). Also, si-
milar to traditional entrepreneurial fundraising, campaign success de-
pends on successful leveraging of social capital within the en-
trepreneur's network (Butticè, Colombo, & Wright, 2017;
Colombo,
Franzoni, & Rossi-Lamastra, 2015;
Skirnevskiy, Bendig, & Brettel,
2017).
Thus far, crowdfunding research has focused primarily on under-
standing the factors that impact campaign success and failure (Short,
Ketchen,McKenny,Allison,&Ireland,2017).Someofthisresearchhas
begun to address the backer's perspectives and their motivations for
engaginginandfinanciallybackingcrowdfundingcampaigns(Macht&
Weatherston,2015).Anotherareabeginningtodrawresearchattention
hasbeenpost-pledgingsatisfactionwiththecrowdfundingprocessand
outcomes (Xu, Zheng, Xu, & Wang, 2016). Accordingly, recent litera-
turereviewshavehighlightedtheneedtofurtheraddressthebackers'
perspectives and psychology (McKenny, Allison, Ketchen, Short, &
Ireland,2017).Thesereviewsacknowledgethatthenatureofbackers'
perspectives depends on the crowdfunding model examined, as moti-
vations for backing non-investment versus investment crowdfunding
campaignsarelikelytobedrivenbydifferentantecedents(Belleflamme
et al., 2014;
Macht & Weatherston, 2015;
Mollick, 2014;
Ordanini,
Miceli,Pizzetti,&Parasuraman,2011).Thesenotionsarefurthersup-
ported by claims that understanding the crowd is fundamental to un-
derstanding crowdfunding, much like understanding angel investors
and venture capital are fundamental to understanding traditional in-
vestment(Josefy,Dean,Albert,&Fitza,2017).
The current paper seeks to address this gap by introducing a cog-
nitiveperspectiveintounderstandingcrowdfundingbehavior.Suchan
approach recognizes that everything we do is influenced by mental
processes through which we acquire, transform, and use information.
Specifically,wesoughttoanalyzecontributionbehaviorinthecontext
of the reward crowdfunding model, while examining it as a planned
behavior.ThisisachievedbystudyingtheextenttowhichtheTheoryof
PlannedBehavior(hereafter,
TPB
)(Ajzen,1991)canbeusedtocapture
crowdfundingcontributionintentionalityandbehavior,aswellastheir
antecedents.Here,theassumptionisthat,duetotherelativenoveltyof
its digital manifestation, the importance of risks involved, and its fi-
nancialimplicationsforparticipants,individualsareunlikelytoengage
in crowdfunding contribution behavior without at least some pre-
liminary consideration. In examining contribution intentionality and
behavior, we answer earlier calls to strengthen the budding literature
on motivational factors in crowdfunding behavior. To date, research
has mostly ignored the prospective influence of cognitive antecedents
incrowdfundingcontributionbehavior.
Furthermore, we extend the generic TPB framework by acknowl-
edging the dual nature of crowdfunding behavior as driven by inten-
tions to make financial contributions as well as intentions to share
campaign information with others. Financial contribution intention is
definedhereasanindividual'sintenttoprovidemonetarybackingtoa
crowdfundingcampaign.Informationsharingintentionisdefinedhere
as an individual's intent to share information about a crowdfunding
campaign with others in their social and professional networks. Since
crowdfunding behavior is anchored in social media interactions and
users' exposure to online Word-of-Mouth (hereafter,
WoM
) (Castillo,
Petrie, & Wardell, 2014;
Colombo et al., 2015;
Feller, Gleasure, &
Treacy,2017;
Lehner,2014),weincorporatebothinformationsharing
and financial contribution intentions into an extended TPB model
adaptedtotherewardcrowdfundingcontext.
Accordingly, the current study presents an analysis of survey data
collected from 560 users of the Finnish leading national reward plat-
form:Mesenaatti.Finlandoffersaninterestingcontextofstudy,asitis
consideredoneofEurope'sleadingcountriesintermsofcrowdfunding
volumesandregulatoryfriendliness(Ziegleretal.,2018).Examination
ofusersofanationalplatformfromasmallopeneconomyrepresentsan
interesting complementary window on to crowdfunding dynamics
transpiring outside large global platforms (such as Kickstarter and In-
diegogo),whichhavebeenapopularresearchcontextforearlierstudies
(Shortetal.,2017).
Overall,ourfindingssupporttheconceptualapplicationofourex-
tendedTPBframeworkintherewardcrowdfundingcontextandhigh-
light the importance of two intentional components - financial con-
tribution and information sharing - in predicting crowdfunding
behavior. Specifically, we found that attitudes, self-efficacy, and sub-
jective norms positively affect financial contribution intentions.
Surprisingly,perceivedbehaviorcontrolwasfoundtohaveanegative
effect on intentions. In addition, attitudes and subjective norms were
found to have a positive effect on information sharing intentions.
Financial contribution intentions were found to affect information
sharing intentions positively, and both these intentions had a positive
effect on financial contribution behavior. When splitting the sample
into high- and low-sum contributors in a post-hoc test, we found that
high-sumcontributorsexhibitedsignificantlyhigherlevelsofattitudes,
self-efficacy, as well as both financial-contribution and information-
sharingintentionsthandidsmall-sumcontributors.
Theremainderofthispaperisstructuredasfollows.Wefirstpresent
a review of the literature regarding the backers' perspectives and re-
latedpsychologicalaspectsincrowdfunding.Wethendevelopalistof
hypotheses aimed at testing the relevance of an extended TPB frame-
work in the context of reward crowdfunding contribution behavior.
Subsequently, we present our findings and discuss them in light of
earlier research. Finally, we conclude by highlighting key contribu-
tions,limitationsandimplicationsforresearchandpractice.
2. Literaturereview
Crowdfundingresearchhasfocusedonanalyzingfactorsthatimpact
campaignsuccessandfailure(Shortetal.,2017),someofwhichserve
as bridges to understanding the backers' perspective of crowdfunding
contribution behavior (Macht & Weatherston, 2015). The limited re-
search that has addressed the backers' perspectives, independent of
campaign outcomes (that is, success and failure), collectively suggest
that backers' in non-investment crowdfunding models are driven by
severalsourcesofmotivation:thedesiretocollectrewards,helpothers,
support causes, and community belonging (Burtch, Ghose, & Wattal,
2013; Gerber & Hui, 2013;
Ordanini et al., 2011;
Ryu & Kim, 2016).
Backersininvestmentcrowdfundingmodelsareshowntobemotivated
by supporting entrepreneurs, prospective financial returns, enhancing
theirimage,lobbyingforcampaignsservingtheirneeds,andachieving
directcontactwithrelatedventures(Bretschneider&Leimeister,2017;
Cumming&Johan,2013;
Ordaninietal.,2011).Furthermore,arecent
study of equity crowdfunding backers has also revealed that herding
has a significant moderating effect on backers' reward motivation
(Bretschneider&Leimeister,2017).
A study by
Cholakova and Clarysse (2015), including both invest-
ment and non-investment crowdfunding models, found that financial
rewards were the primary motivator behind an individual's decision to
pledge,whilenon-financialmotivationsplayedonlyasecondaryrole.An
additional study, conducted in the investment context of equity crowd-
funding, identified three clusters of investors, as defined by their moti-
vation to backequity crowdfundingcampaigns in Finland(Lukkarinen,
Wallenius, & Seppälä, 2017). The clusters included
donation-oriented
supporters
, who are predominantly motivated by the opportunity to
participate and help;
return-oriented supporters
, who are motivated by
bothfinancialreturnsandopportunitytoparticipateandhelp;and
pure
investors,
whoaremotivatedpredominantlybyfinancialreturns.
R.ShneorandZ.H.Munim
Journal of Business Research 103 (2019) 56–70
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