Idea rejected, tie formed: Organizations’ feedback on crowdsourced ideas

Henning Piezunka, Linus Dahlander

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

88 Citations (SciVal)


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. We suggest that organizations can increase newcomers’ willingness to submit further ideas by providing a thus far understudied form of feedback: rejections. Though counterintuitive, we 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 our theory, we examine the crowdsourcing of 70,159 organizations that received ideas from 1,336,154 contributors. Using text analysis, we examine differences in how rejections are written to disentangle the mechanisms through which rejections affect contributors’ willingness to continue to interact with an organization. We 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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)503-530
Number of pages28
JournalAcademy of Management Journal
Issue number2
Early online date1 Jan 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Business, Management and Accounting(all)
  • Strategy and Management
  • Management of Technology and Innovation


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