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Faculty & Research


Idea Rejected, Tie Formed: Organizations' Feedback on Crowdsourced Ideas

Award Winning
Journal Article
When organizations crowdsource ideas, they select only a small share of the ideas that contributors submit for implementation. If a contributor submits an idea to an organization for the first time (i.e., is a newcomer), and the organization does not select the idea, this may negatively affect the newcomer’s relationship with the organization and willingness to submit ideas to the organization in future. The authors suggest that organizations can increase newcomers’ willingness to submit further ideas by providing a thus far understudied form of feedback: rejections. Though counterintuitive, the authors suggest that rejections encourage newcomers to bond with an organization. Rejections signal contributors that an organization is interested in receiving their ideas and developing relationships with them. To test their theory, the authors examine the crowdsourcing of 70,159 organizations that received ideas from 1,336,154 contributors. Using text analysis, the authors examine differences in how rejections are written to disentangle the mechanisms through which rejections affect contributors’ willingness to continue to interact with an organization. The authors find that receiving a rejection positively impacts newcomers’ willingness to submit ideas in future. This effect is stronger if the rejection includes an explanation and is particularly pronounced if the explanation matches the original idea in terms of linguistic style.

Associate Professor of Entrepreneurship and Family Enterprise