MORSe Seminar : Prof. Jean-François Soublière (HEC Montréal)

Institute of Management and Organisation

Date: 7 December 2022 / 12:30 - 14:00

Earning the support of external audiences, such as investors, analysts, or critics, is a fundamental challenge for all market actors, especially when they pioneer novel endeavors. We know that different audiences hold different interpretive schemas, that is, they assess and support endeavors based on different sets of norms, practices, and beliefs. But how do these schemas change over time? I conducted a process study of ‘backers’—a distinct resource-providing audience—who followed the very first highly successful crowdfunding campaign, from its launch in 2012 to its delivery in 2015. Although backers initially offered their overwhelming support, I show that, as events unfolded, some backers shifted the balance between the two concerns that governed their interpretive schemas. Explaining this shift, I propose a three-stage model whereby audiences initiate, realize, and activate their schemas. Extending prior understandings of audience support, which offered actor-centric insights, this model casts audiences as active participants who colored unfolding events with their own concerns, and influenced each other’s interpretations.