Making Sense of Rewards-Based Crowdfunding: Understanding the Lived Experience of Nascent Entrepreneurs

GREEN, Emma Claire (2019). Making Sense of Rewards-Based Crowdfunding: Understanding the Lived Experience of Nascent Entrepreneurs. Doctoral, Sheffield Hallam University.

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Rewards-Based Crowdfunding has recently received increasing academic attention. It has been conceptualised as a source of finance that has reshaped the funding cycle. However, little is known about the lived experience of entrepreneurs using it to start a venture. In comparison to other, more traditional sources of finance, the monetary values raised are relatively small, and successful campaigns rely on a wide network of contacts on social media, who act co-creatively. Moreover, empirical research has largely used data collected by online platforms, resulting in a narrow focus on campaign success, rather than insights into enactment of the phenomenon. Therefore, research on the lived experience of entrepreneurs engaged in this phenomenon can contribute strongly to the advancement of the field. Drawing on six cases in the UK, this thesis employs an interpretivist, hermeneutic approach, adopting a sensemaking lens. Utilising in-depth interviews, online archival research and combined with the hermeneutic preunderstandings of the researcher, the study sought to gain rich insights into the phenomenon. The findings identify insights in three specific themes; (1) multi-dimensional aspirations, (2) complementary resourcing and (3) the practice of ‘entrepreneuring’. Further, from the hermeneutic consideration of the whole phenomenon, three approaches of seeking; (1) alignment, (2) sufficiency, and (3) flexibility, comprise key influencers in enacting their ventures using the phenomenon. The entrepreneurs have leveraged Rewards-Based Crowdfunding to acquire patient cashflow, market-traction and “marketing potential of persuasion” capital resources, hybrid activities which complement financial resources. Further, the findings show that the entrepreneurs leveraged alignment to increase the speed of tie formation and their ties are complex and dynamic. The identification of such approaches are significant theoretical contributions the thesis makes to resource theory, network tie theory and the broader Rewards-Based Crowdfunding literature. Furthermore, the study makes a general contribution to the study of the lived experience of entrepreneurial venture enactment. Future research should build on the insights, taking a contextual approach.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Thesis advisor - Pandya, Kaushik
Additional Information: Director of studies: Dr Kaushik Pandya
Research Institute, Centre or Group - Does NOT include content added after October 2018: Sheffield Hallam Doctoral Theses
Identification Number:
Depositing User: Colin Knott
Date Deposited: 04 Sep 2020 16:14
Last Modified: 26 Apr 2021 13:56

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