Abstract

Broad work on entrepreneurial narratives (Martens, Jennings & Jennings, 2007) has suggested the importance of narrative structure (Downing, 2005; Gartner, 2007). Previous research has used narratives to study the reaction of investors to various entrepreneurial projects (Allison, Davis, Short, & Webb, 2015; Herzenstein, Sonenshein, & Dholakia, 2011). Yet, theory to guide such structure remains elusive. In this paper, we examine the literature on empowerment in order to provide an analytical structure with which to categorize crowdfunding entrepreneurial narratives with a view toward predicting fundraising performance. We examine four ways in which entrepreneurial narratives may communicate a sense of empowerment to prospective investors. Sense of impact, meaningfulness, competence, and choice can be used as tools to measure psychological empowerment (Spreitzer, 1995; Thomas & Velthouse, 1990). In keeping with theory on the importance of narrative structure, we expect that expressions of these four empowerment constructs will have stronger effects on fundraising performance when they appear toward the end of crowdfunding narratives compared to at the beginning.

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