Having Your Cake and Eating It Too? Ambivalent Linguistic Framing Strategies in Equity Crowdfunding

Dennis Helding, Diego Stea

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference abstract in proceedingsResearchpeer-review


Linguistic framing—that is, “the selective use of vocabularies to construct meaning of a particular version of reality and to shape target audiences’ understandings, garner their appreciation, and influence their behaviors” (Pan et al., 2019: 3)—has important consequences for firms that need to convey information to potential resource contributors in order to secure external investments. However, while linguistic frames are ubiquitous and normally simultaneously deployed, knowledge is lacking on the workings and inherent advantages and disadvantages of the concurrent use of contrasting framing strategies—namely, framing ambivalence. To improve our understanding of the importance of ambivalent framing for strategic communication effectiveness, we explore the application in an equity crowdfunding setting of linguistic framing strategies that simultaneously appeal to the familiarity and novelty of a given entrepreneurial project. In particular, we extend a complementarity logic to the context of ambivalent linguistic frames and their rhetorical counterparts to theorize that, while per se deleterious, ambivalent framing strategies lead to increased resource acquisitions when formulated in a clear and simple manner, but result in the opposite effect when formulated in complex ways. Analysis of full-sample, firm-level data on 197 equity crowdfunding campaigns supports these ideas. These findings contribute to the strategic communication, signaling, and crowdfunding literature.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the Eightieth Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management
EditorsGuclu Atinc
Number of pages1
Place of PublicationBriarcliff Manor, NY
PublisherAcademy of Management
Publication date2020
Publication statusPublished - 2020
EventThe Academy of Management Annual Meeting 2020: Broadening Our Sight - Virtual
Duration: 7 Aug 202011 Aug 2020
Conference number: 80


ConferenceThe Academy of Management Annual Meeting 2020
Internet address
SeriesAcademy of Management Proceedings

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