Original Research

Theory versus practise: Assessing reward-based crowdfunding theory through a South African case study

Francois Haasbroek, Marius Ungerer
South African Journal of Business Management | Vol 51, No 1 | a2078 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajbm.v51i1.2078 | © 2020 Marius Ungerer, Francois Haasbroek | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 23 April 2020 | Published: 11 December 2020

About the author(s)

Francois Haasbroek, Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences, University of Stellenbosch Business School, Stellenbosch University, Cape Town, South Africa
Marius Ungerer, Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences, University of Stellenbosch Business School, Stellenbosch University, Cape Town, South Africa


Purpose: This study was conducted to assess the replicability and efficacy of several key success factors (KSFs) as identified in reward-based crowdfunding (RBC) literature through a South African based case study. The dramatic rise and omnipresence of platform-driven enterprises and citizen participation have altered the social and business landscape over the past decade. Crowdfunding in its modern-day form is a fundamental embodiment of these two movements showing significant growth worldwide. Despite this growth, the theoretical development of crowdfunding emanates from a limited nexus of research, causing a lack of diversity in utilised data and applied methodologies. This study was conducted in response to these perceived shortcomings.

Design/methodology/approach: The research applied an inductive interpretivist research approach through data obtained from semi-structured interviews with 18 participants in a real-life RBC campaign in South Africa. Qualitative research techniques were utilised to analyse this data, including the researcher’s field notes from the case.

Findings/results: This study’s findings suggested that current literature on crowdfunding can benefit from additional contributions emerging from studies utilising alternative data sources and diversified methodologies. Moreover, several findings from this study expand on existing theories relating to participant incentives, campaign characteristics and management practices are associated with KSFs. This emerged because of the context-specific nature of this study utilising the participants’ viewpoints in favour of historical quantitative data.

Practical implications: The findings provide reward-based crowdfunding practitioners deeper insight to key success factors which could influence campaign outcomes.

Originality/value: These findings contribute new theoretical knowledge about KSFs and its ability to incentivise participation in RBC and present practical recommendations to future RBC designers.


campaign characteristics; key success factors; management practices; participant incentives; platform-driven enterprises; reward-based crowdfunding; South Africa.


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