New Article on Legitimacy and Crowdfunding Just Accepted

Today, my paper — “The Legitimacy Threshold Revisited: How Prior Successes and Failures Spill Over to Other Endeavors on Kickstarter” — co-authored with Jean-François (JF) Soublière (University of Alberta) was accepted for publication in the Academy of Management Journal.

The paper asks: How does the legitimacy conferred on entrepreneurial endeavors affect the legitimacy of subsequent ones? We extend the notion of a “legitimacy threshold” to develop and test a recursive model of legitimacy. Whereas extant research has focused on whether entrepreneurial endeavors garner sufficient support from key audiences to cross this threshold, we argue that the order of magnitude by which they succeed or fail is consequential for later entrants, too. Distinguishing “blockbuster” from “unsung” successes, and “path breaking” from “broken path” failures, we contend that recent successes and failures affect related subsequent endeavors in predictable, though sometimes counterintuitive ways. We test our hypotheses by examining 182,358 entrepreneurial endeavors pitched within 165 categories over a six-year period on Kickstarter, one of the most important crowdfunding platforms. We show that individual outcomes, taken collectively, generate legitimacy spillovers, either by encouraging audiences to repeatedly support other related endeavors or by discouraging them from doing so. Our research contributes to understanding the recursive nature of legitimacy, the competitive dynamics of entrepreneurial efforts, and crowdfunding platforms.

Values Work Paper Cited by Phillips and Lawrence

In their recent Strategic Organization paper — The Turn to Work in Organization and Management Theory: Some Implications for Strategic Organization — co-authors Nelson Phillips of Imperial College and Tom Lawrence of Simon Fraser University identified 15 distinct forms of “work” being researched in organization and management theory.

In addition to well known topics such as institutional work, boundary work and identity work, Phillips and Lawrence singled out values work as well. Building on our forthcoming Academy of Management Journal paper, they define values work as “the activities that are carried out by actors whereby values come to be practiced in organizations.”

Later in the paper they write: “Values work, for instance, undoubtedly involves recognizable sets of practices, but what makes it values work is its focus on affecting organizational values by ‘dealing with pockets of concern, knotting local concerns into action networks, performing values practices, and circulating values discourse’ (Gehman et al., in press).”