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Social capital and the digital crowd: Involving backers to promote new product innovativeness

Nils Eiteneyer, David Bendig and Malte Brettel

Research Policy, 2019, vol. 48, issue 8, -

Abstract: Involving customers is often considered a method to develop products in line with market needs. However, we still need to obtain more insights into the respective drivers and outcomes in the context of (a) the involvement of customers by entrepreneurial ventures and (b) business-to-consumer (B2C) relationships. This study suggests that reward-based crowdfunding can provide a digital opportunity for both areas. We explore how community-derived social capital influences ventures’ approach to engaging backers in new product development and how this, in turn, advances product innovativeness. Using structural equation modeling, we test a unique dataset that combines primary survey and secondary platform data from 710 crowdfunding ventures. Our results provide a nuanced picture of how social capital dimensions are associated with backers as an information source and as co-developers and, indirectly, with new product innovativeness. This study underscores that crowdfunding serves as a digital platform for market-oriented innovation. It contributes empirical insights into how nascent teams can engage the digital crowd in product development via crowdfunding. We also add to social capital literature by illuminating web-mediated mechanisms that transform knowledge into tangible innovation outcomes.

Keywords: Crowdfunding; Co-creation; Digitization; Open innovation; Social capital; Startups (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: L26 L86 O31 O32 O33 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2019
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DOI: 10.1016/j.respol.2019.01.017

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Research Policy is currently edited by M. Bell, B. Martin, W.E. Steinmueller, A. Arora, M. Callon, M. Kenney, S. Kuhlmann, Keun Lee and F. Murray

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