Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Business Administration

First Advisor

Dr. Francis Kofi Andoh-Baidoo

Second Advisor

Dr. Emmanuel W. Ayaburi

Third Advisor

Dr. Xuan Wang


Crowdfunding has revolutionized the world of financing. From entrepreneurs to financially excluded individuals seeking funding for essential projects, crowdfunding provides an expansive platform for project founders to raise needed capital for pending or ongoing projects. In addition to raising capital, founders also use crowdfunding to test market an idea, gain exposure for future funding, gain validation, and build trusting relationships with backers (Zhou et al., 2018). However, the success of crowdfunding is dependent on crowd participation- backer support and funding. The importance of crowd participation in crowdfunding is not limited to project funding, but also building public involvement and support (Wheat et al., 2013), identifying potential demand for proposed products, and creating public interest in new products in the early stages of development (E. R. Mollick & Kuppuswamy, 2014). As such, founders need to capture the attention of the platform audience and convince them to participate to achieve project goals. In spite of the benefits of crowdfunding, platform statistics reveal high failure rates of crowdfunding projects (Clauss et al., 2018; N. Wang et al., 2018). Accordingly, the factors that affect crowdfunding success continue to garner warranted attention from both researchers and experts (Allison et al., 2017; Burtch et al., 2015; C. Jiang et al., 2020; N. Wang et al., 2018). This dissertation focuses on the avenues to crowdfunding success and demonstrates how these avenues might vary across heterogeneous types of crowdfunding environments. The research objective is to explore a plethora of factors influencing crowdfunding success in both risky and uncertain crowdfunding environments. I explore the decision criteria used by the crowdfunding actors “founders and backers” to promote, participate, or support project ventures on crowdfunding platforms. Adopting the behavioral decision framework, I utilize different theoretical perspectives- value congruence, IT-culture conflict, and collaborative fundraising to examine founder-backer decision-making using diverse methodologies such as text analytics, grounded theory, and regression techniques. Armed with this research objective, the dissertation offers both theoretical and practical significance to literature and practice. Theoretically, this dissertation demonstrates the interplay between founder-backer decisions and the crowdfunding environment and how these interactions affect crowdfunding success. The findings reveal that mechanisms such as value congruence and collaborative fundraising serve as conduits for both founders and backers to address the uncertainty and risk marred in donation and reward crowdfunding environments. Further, the results indicate that traditional fundraising mechanisms impede the growth of online crowdfunding in developing regions. To this effect, the role of IT-culture conflict in crowdfunding adoption and participation is also uncovered and addressed in this dissertation. To sum it up, this dissertation contributes to the literature on these theoretical concepts: value congruence, collaborative fundraising, and IT-culture conflict and their influence on crowdfunding success. Practically, the findings inform founders, backers, and administrators on key strategies to improve crowdfunding success. To founders, the results demonstrate the importance of emphasizing backer-driven values and bundling projects to reduce or possibly, eliminate product uncertainty and risk. On the other hand, the findings reveal that backers, looking to minimize uncertainty and risk, can ground their crowdfunding decisions on value congruence and collaborative fundraising. To administrators, platform designs ought to provide adaptive interactive interfaces which highlight founder-backer value congruence and support innovative mechanisms like collaborative fundraising. In the first essay, I extend the literature on value congruence by examining the impact of founder-backer value congruence on reward crowdfunding success. Existing literature shows that value congruence is effective in the donation and non-profit contexts because in the absence of economic exchange, values form the basis of worth creation. I argue that, in contexts where economic exchange forms the basis of worth creation, value congruence still plays an important role in modern consumer behavior. Until now, the impact of value congruence has received limited attention in non-profit contexts. I demonstrate that backers’ perceptions of project uncertainties in reward crowdfunding can be addressed through value congruence - the degree of alignment between the values of project founders and backers. The current study pioneers a moderated-mediated model to demonstrate the role of value congruence in reward crowdfunding success based on locus of control, temporal awareness, and interdependent self-construal value congruences. Adopting text analytics and process regression models, the study demonstrates insightful dynamics between the three value congruences and their influence on reward crowdfunding success. In the second essay, I identify and examine the impact of collaborative fundraising as a credibility mechanism on donation crowdfunding success. Donation crowdfunding is plagued with uncertainties caused by information asymmetry. Collaborative fundraising mechanisms are important in crowdfunding because they minimize information asymmetry- enhance project authenticity and donor trust. Using bundling as an underlying concept, this study examines the impact of collaborative fundraising using two bundling concepts- ideological and project bundling on donation crowdfunding success. Using data from, I adopt binomial and linear regression methods to measure the impact of these credibility mechanisms on crowdfunding success- project funds raised and donor support. Our findings reveal contrasting effects of both collaborative fundraising mechanisms on crowdfunding success. The study contributes to an important area of crowdfunding discussion where collaborative fundraising mechanisms might not always offer positive benefits to projects. In the third essay, I examine online crowdfunding adoption behavior in developing regions. Online crowdfunding presents a plethora of potential benefits to developing regions. However, the adoption and usage of online crowdfunding remain low. Prior to the advent of online crowdfunding, developing regions have long utilized pre-existing cultural fundraising practices. This study dives into the intricacies of online crowdfunding adoption and usage in developing regions where such cultural fundraising practices are dominant. Using the IT-culture conflict theory as a lens, I qualitatively explore the conflicts in values that emerge as both founders and funders pursue online crowdfunding in Kenya, a developing region, and how such IT-culture conflicts are resolved. I adopt the Harambee fundraising practice as the context for this study and use the literature on IT-Culture conflict to analyze the tensions between cultural values and online crowdfunding values and how such tensions are resolved. I anticipate the study to contribute to the literature on cultural values, crowdfunding, and IT adoption.


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