Methodology and Method
The purpose of this study is to examine the advantages and disadvantages of crowdfunding as a source of investment funding for social enterprises. Due to the domain having limited research a descriptive approach is used to increase the understanding of crowdfunding in a social enterprise context (Saunders, Lewis & Thornhill, 2012). As the research aims at answering specific research questions that have not previously been studied in chosen context, descriptive research is suitable (Saunders et al., 2012). This study aims to examine a fairly recent topic and create a basis for further research through gathering information, describing and summarizing. (Saunders, et al., 2012). We try to cast light on current issues of crowdfunding through a process of data collection that enables a more complete description of the situation (Fox & Bayat, 2007).
Research approach connects theory and research. If the research conducted is based on existing theory the approach is deductive. Otherwise, if theory is an outcome of research then it is inductive (Bryman & Bell, 2011). This paper has an inductive research approach since it does not base its research on theory. Instead, data is collected from interviews and later connected to relevant theory in the analysis. The aim of an inductive approach is to understand and find connections between the different views, which is the main objective of this paper. Inductive approach is open-ended and exploratory which provides opportunity to fulfill the research purpose, in contrast to deductive approach, which is narrow and limiting (Saunders et al., 2012).
The research philosophy of this paper is interpretivism, because we aim to gain a deeper understanding through thoughts and reflections. Interpretivism involves feelings and emotions in order to understand behaviors of others (Saunders et al., 2012). Our main objective is understanding and connecting different views of advantages and disadvantages of crowdfunding. We believe that a firm structure would act as a constraint and big samples are not the key aspect to collect the desired information of this study. The aim is to go deeper into the concept of crowdfunding for social enterprises. The interpretivist approach has qualities most suitable for given research, including small samples and qualitative approach (Saunders et al., 2012). When it comes to the qualitative nature of this paper, this approach examines and reflects on perceptions concerning understanding human and social activities. The aim of quantitative research however is to operationalize variables and a process of generalization results from larger population groups (Saunders et al., 2012). As quantitative method is mostly used within descriptive research, qualitative method is preferred in exploratory research to understand underlying tendencies and behavior of humans (Bryman & Bell, 2011). This study aims to explain and examine experiences of entrepreneurs. A quantitative approach would not provide the right data, and statistical data would not be able to fully explain these experiences. Since the aim of this paper is to try to understand and analyze human behavior and views, qualitative approach gives the most opportunity in receiving more information and explicit answers that can give broad in-depth answers where views and angles can be analyzed (Saunders et al., 2012).
The qualitative research strategy chosen for this research is thematic analysis. This method helps us identify, analyze and report patterns or themes within data. The pinpointing of themes helps the research examine our phenomenon of advantages and disadvantages of crowdfunding in social enterprises and answer our specific research questions. Themes extracted from our data become categories for analysis. Thematic analysis allows flexibility regarding the choice of theoretical framework. Such flexibility allowed us rich, detailed and complex description of our data (Braun & Clarke, 2006).
The data collection in this paper is both secondary and primary. The secondary data used in this paper is represented by the literature review and the primary data is represented by the empirical study. As mentioned in the methodology section, due to following a inductive research approach the research questions are going to be answered with the help of primary data through the conducted interviews (Gill & Johnson, 2010).
Secondary data was gathered through a literature review to provide an overall view of existing research in the field. This enabled mapping and identification of research gaps (Saunders et al., 2012). The most used databases were Web of Science, Google Scholar and JIBS Library during the collection of peer-reviewed articles. These keywords were used, separately or mixed in the same search: crowdfunding, social entrepreneurship, social enterprise, social ventures impact investment, funding, financing, capital, equity crowdfunding, lending crowdfunding, sustainability. In addition to this, interesting references within articles was a base to further explore the topic. Articles cited highest number of times were chosen over articles cited less times in an attempt at finding most credible data. However, due to the recency of the topic as well as being rather niche, many chosen articles were low cited. Moreover, most recent articles were prioritized to the greatest extent in an attempt to include research with less risk of being outdated, especially considering the fast development of the research field.
Primary data was collected through individual semi-structured interviews. Interviewing as a research method for primary data collection retrieves insight of participant’ actions, thoughts and feelings, which this paper aims to do (Collis & Hussey, 2014). Semi-structured interviews are defined as non-standardized and belong to qualitative research interviews (King, 2004). Such structure means that the researcher follows a list of themes and key questions that are aimed to be covered, however certain changes could be made from interview to interview. Some questions could be excluded in certain interviews if considered unsuitable to specific organizational context in relation to the research topic. Furthermore, depending on the flow of the conversation during the interview the order of the questions could be changed. Also, additional questions could be added if the exploration of research question or nature of events with a particular company requires it. This enabled the possibility to adapt the process of the interviews that were conducted and retrieve information that is intended disregarding a strict structure. However, having key questions and an overall layout was also useful in order to not retrieve irrelevant information, which can happen when the interviewee is allowed to speak freely. Due to the nature of such interview and discussion, most suitable data capturer was considered to be audio-recording or at particular events note taking (Saunders et al., 2012).
The process of preparation and conducting the interviews had to avoid certain issues (Saunders et al., 2012). Due to interpretivism as chosen philosophy and qualitative research in general it is important to consider issues like reliability, bias, validity, generalizability and ethical issues. Taking part in an interview is an intrusive process and the interviewee can therefore be sensitive to unstructured exploration of some themes. (Easterby-Smith, Thorpe & Jackson, 2008; Silverman, 2007).
Reliability covers the amount of times research has been conducted and the consistency of the results. However, it is not necessary for the derived findings to be repeatable, since they reflect reality at the time they were derived. Semi- structured interviews are assumed to be complex and dynamic. The flexibility provided by such interviews is valuable (Marshall and Rossman, 2006). Transcripts that were done act as process quality that helps increase the reliability of this paper. Another threat to reliability is bias, which is addressed in the next section (Saunders et al., 2012).
2 LITERATURE REVIEW
2.1 DEFINING THE CONCEPT OF SOCIAL ENTERPRISE
2.2 SOCIAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP AS THE KEY FOR SUSTAINABILITY
2.3 SOCIAL ENTERPRISE FINANCING
2.4 NEW FUNDING STRATEGIES
2.5 CROWDFUNDING AS A NEW POSSIBILITY
2.6 POTENTIAL OF CROWDFUNDING FOR THE SOCIAL ENTERPRISE SECTOR
2.7 RESEARCH ON CROWDFUNDING ADVANTAGES FOR COMMERCIAL ENTERPRISES
2.8 RESEARCH ON DISADVANTAGE OF CROWDFUNDING FOR COMMERCIAL ENTERPRISES
2.9 REFLECTION ON LITERATURE REVIEW
3 METHODOLOGY AND METHOD
3.2 METHOD .
4 CROWDFUNDING ADVANTAGES AND DISADVANTAGES FOR SOCIAL ENTERPRISES
4.1 SUMMARY OF ADVANTAGES AND DISADVANTAGES AND THEIR FREQUENCY
4.2 ADVANTAGES OF CROWDFUNDING
4.3 DISADVANTAGES OF CROWDFUNDING
5.1 BRIEF ANALYSIS OF OUR FINDINGS
5.2 DEEPER ANALYSIS OF MAIN ADVANTAGES
5.3 DEEPER ANALYSIS OF MAIN DISADVANTAGES
5.4 IMPLICATIONS FOR CROWDFUNDING AS A SOCIAL ENTERPRISE FINANCING SOURCE
7.1 IMPLICATIONS .
7.2 FURTHER RESEARCH
7.3 LIMITATIONS OF STUDY
GET THE COMPLETE PROJECT
CROWDFUNDING AS A SOURCE FOR SOCIAL ENTERPRISE FINANCING