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NOTE: Since 2009 the title of the International Journal of Entrepreneurship Education (IJEE) has been changed to the title above.  ISSN numbers: IJEE 1649-2269 and IRE 2009-2822

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ISSN Number: 2009-2822. Frequency: 4 Issues + 1 Hard Copy per year 

Article #1641 - Legitimacy in Crowdfunding: Some Surprising Patterns

IRE Vol 18: Issue 4, 2020, Pages 611-640

Author(s): Amélie Wuillaume (FEB-VBO, Brussels, Belgium) and Frank Janssen (Louvain School of Management, Université catholique de Louvain, Louvain-La-Neuve, Belgium)

Abstract:
We extend prior research on narratives as a means for entrepreneurs to gain stakeholders’ support by examining the role that narratives play in building legitimacy in crowdfunding. Our analyses on a dataset of narratives from a large crowdfunding platform suggest that entrepreneurs who finance their ventures through crowdfunding follow some patterns that are similar to those they would follow if they were addressing traditional money providers but also a set of very specific and surprising patterns related to legitimacy in terms of both the content and framing of their narratives. Specifically, narratives’ content can cast projects as being different, niche oriented, and guided by values and craziness and as having weaknesses and undefined goals. In terms of framing, we observe abstract, informal, intimate, and collective narratives. We suggest that these patterns act to legitimize projects and persuade specific crowdfunding audiences of projects’ legitimacy.