A Rift in the Ground: Theorizing the Evolution of Anchor Values in Crowdfunding Communities through the Oculus Rift Case Study

Rob Gleasure, Joseph Feller

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Recently, many people have discussed crowdfunding’s role in developing new products and new businesses. However, crowdfunding is driven not only by economics but also by a set of shared values; values that unite communities of funders and anchor them to specific projects. We theorize how these anchor values evolve by analyzing one extreme case, specifically the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset developer kits. The Oculus Rift had significant success on Kickstarter fundraising and generating interest in virtual reality. However, they also caused controversy when the company was subsequently sold to Facebook for US$2 billion, a move that some argued contradicted the principles of crowdfunding. We perform a grounded theory analysis of public discourse from mid-2012 to mid-2014. That analysis suggests the Kickstarter community’s response to events around the Oculus Rift was ultimately self-preservational in nature whereby that community adapted their perceived values around the Oculus Rift to maintain a distinctive and sustainable collective identity. Finally, we relate these findings to existing research on organizational identity and stakeholder engagement.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of the Association for Information Systems
Issue number10
Pages (from-to)708–736
Number of pages29
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Crowdfunding
  • Kickstarter
  • Anchor values
  • Grounded theory
  • Oculus Rift

Cite this