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Essays on Crowdfunding Adoption and Behavior

Despite the rapid growth of crowdfunding, there are several incidences of unsuccessful campaigns. Hence, it is intriguing to understand the drivers of crowdfunding adoption and development.

Prince Baah-Peprah

Ph.D. candidate

Prince Baah-Peprah has submitted his thesis entitled "Essays on Crowdfunding Adoption and Behavior" and will defend the thesis for the PhD degree, 25 April 2023. He has followed the PhD programme at UiA School of Business and Law.

Summary of the thesis:

Generally, the term crowdfunding refers to the efforts by entrepreneurial individuals and groups – cultural, social, and for-profit – to fund their ventures by drawing on relatively small contributions from a large number of individuals through the internet, (crowdfunding platforms) without standard financial intermediaries (example banks and other traditional financial institutions).

Despite its existence in various informal ways in numerous societies throughout history, the crowdfunding phenomenon began to attract attention due to emerging novel initiatives observed online in the early 2000s. Today, with the spread and affordability of internet access, lasting implications of the 2008 financial crises in traditional financial systems, and the current economic downturns, crowdfunding has become a catalyst of funding globally, either by complimenting, or partially replacing some traditional funding channels. For example, in 2021, the global volume of crowdfunding surpassed USD 113 billion.

Despite the rapid growth of crowdfunding, there are several incidences of unsuccessful campaigns. Hence, it is intriguing to understand the drivers of crowdfunding adoption and development. Accordingly, this dissertation examines aspects of crowdfunding adoption and behavior. The three studies that comprise the dissertation answer the following overarching research question: which factors influence crowdfunding backers’ contribution intentions and behaviors?

Study 1 (titled, A Trust-Based Crowdfunding Campaign Marketing Framework: Theoretical Underpinnings and Big-Data Analytics Practice) conceptually developed a trust-based framework for crowdfunding. It suggested a series of campaign strategies where each strategy is relevant to a unique configuration of trust conditions prevailing at campaign launch, with the aim to overcome trust deficits and to leverage trust surpluses towards greater adoption by prospective crowdfunding backers.

Study 2 (titled, Explaining Reward Crowdfunding Backers’ Intentions and Behavior) empirically explains backers’ contribution intentions and behavior by testing the technology acceptance model – TAM. Here, the focus is on perceptions of crowdfunding’s usefulness and ease-of-use as an alternative funding mechanism as well as the respective antecedents of such usefulness and ease-of-use in explaining backers’ contributions and behaviors. The paper finds evidence that confirms the roles by some of these, as well as a lack of association with others. The latter highlight limitations for the relevance of some of the factors assumed to affect adoption intentions and behavior in the original TAM framework.

Study 3 (titled, The Influences of Community Identification and Trust on Crowdfunding Campaign Information-Sharing Intentions and Behaviors builds and tests a new and alternative theoretical framework that draws on dimensions of community identification and trust for explaining backers’ contribution intentions and behavior. This theoretical framework argues for the centrality of community aspects for the well-functioning of online crowdfunding communities, which have largely been overlooked in earlier studies.

Overall, the findings of this dissertation present several contributions. First, the dissertation goes beyond the notion of the importance of trust in crowdfunding and presents a concrete set of campaign marketing strategies to address different pre-launch market trust configurations. Second, it both confirms and presents the limitations of a well-established framework for explaining ICT systems adoption by contextualizing its testing in the crowdfunding context. Third, the dissertation suggests a novel framework for explaining crowdfunding intention and behavior by building on online community aspects of community identification and community trust, which were largely overlooked in earlier crowdfunding studies.

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