Backer Motivation in Crowdfunding New Product Ideas: Is It about You or Is It about Me?

Haisu Zhang, Weizhi Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

66 Scopus citations


Entrepreneurs are using crowdfunding to reach out to the general public to obtain financial support for their new product development. Those who offer project creators financial support are called backers. In this research, the authors examine two types of backer motivation, other-orientation and self-orientation, and their respective effects on a backer’s funding decision on new product ideas at the reward-based crowdfunding platform. Other-orientation is defined as a backer’s altruistic motivation to help others when making a funding decision; and self-orientation is defined as a backer’s egoistic motivation to pursue internal feeling, such as personal satisfaction and power to control the project. They find that self-orientation has a stronger positive effect than other-orientation on the backer’s funding decision. Furthermore, the authors examine the difference between men and women, and find that the relationship between other-orientation and funding decision is stronger for women than men, but the relationship for self-orientation is stronger for men than women. The authors conduct three empirical studies to test the hypotheses in both the backer’s and the project creator’s contexts. In Study 1, they adopt a survey method to investigate effects of the backer’s motivation on his or her funding decision in the film category. In Study 2, they use data of 600 film projects from to examine linguistic cues used by project creators that stimulate backer motivation. In Study 3, they conduct an experiment to further validate results of the difference between men and women. Although some research suggests that extrinsic reward is a reason for backers’ funding behavior, the authors emphasize that their psychological need also plays an influential role. In addition, findings of the difference between men and women enrich the crowdfunding literature by discovering distinct backer subgroups.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)241-262
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Product Innovation Management
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Strategy and Management
  • Management of Technology and Innovation


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