Communicating values: essays on trust and legitimacy as dynamic drivers of decision-making in crowdfunding

PhD thesis

Harrer, T. 2021. Communicating values: essays on trust and legitimacy as dynamic drivers of decision-making in crowdfunding. PhD thesis Middlesex University Business and Law
TypePhD thesis
Doctorate by public works thesis
TitleCommunicating values: essays on trust and legitimacy as dynamic drivers of decision-making in crowdfunding
AuthorsHarrer, T.

There is great consensus among scholars and practitioners alike that entrepreneurs and young ventures play an important role in tackling societal issues. Despite this, such ventures with their overarching social or environmental mission face grave difficulties when it comes to accessing external finance. This may be due to their complex value-propositions that bring with a narrative outside the traditional lines of investor/investee communication, and of course their increased liability of newness (Stinchcombe, 1965) because of novel forms of organisations with strong stakeholder participation in their governance. Crowdfunding (CF) can be seen as a fairly young financing option that aims to bridge this financing gap. It does so by focusing investors on the value-propositions of the ventures such that it connects the fund-seeking venture to the community. Because of these peculiarities it is crucial to understand how decision-making and underlying communication processes work as they are more strongly underpinned by collective and individual values. And while research has shed light on the factors that influence decision-making processes, much less attention has been paid to the communication and negotiation of the underlying values of the various actors in these processes. This thesis, in the form of a PhD by Public Works, fills this gap and provides insights into how the communication and negotiation of values between the actors influences decision-making in CF throughout the various stages of a funding campaign. It summarises and outlines five scholarly papers which address CF as an institutional space with interlinked actors and looks at decision-making processes from sociological and socio-cognitive perspectives, applying legitimacy and trust lenses. Given the nascent status of CF theory the research positions itself in an interpretative paradigm and follows an abductive methodology with qualitative methods. Based on the combined insights from the five papers the thesis ultimately provides insights into the processes of embedding and re-embedding of values in CF and by that how these values drive decision-making.

Sustainable Development Goals9 Industry, innovation and infrastructure
17 Partnerships for the goals
Middlesex University ThemeCreativity, Culture & Enterprise
Research GroupCentre for Enterprise, Environment and Development Research (CEEDR)
Department nameBusiness and Law
Institution nameMiddlesex University
Publication dates
Print01 Nov 2022
Publication process dates
Deposited01 Nov 2022
Accepted07 Jun 2021
Output statusPublished
Accepted author manuscript
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