Academic journal article Journal of the International Academy for Case Studies

Crowd Funding: A Case Study at the Intersection of Social Media and Business Ethics

Academic journal article Journal of the International Academy for Case Studies

Crowd Funding: A Case Study at the Intersection of Social Media and Business Ethics

Article excerpt

INSTRUCTOR'S NOTES

CASE DESCRIPTION

The primary subject matter of this case concerns ethical issues involved with crowd funding. Crowd funding is the use of social media to raise funds for various purposes, ranging from community-based endeavors to personal wants. There are several ethical issues surrounding crowd funding: what people actually do with the money; how to deal with people who do not fulfill their promises; whether or not websites should limit funding to specified goals; whether or not recognized artists should be prohibited from participating, in effect competing against aspiring artists. Specific attention is given to the case of artist/musician Amanda Palmer, who raised over $1 million on Kickstarter.com for an album project that had only $100,000 as an initial goal. She later admitted that she spent the rest of the money that was raised on personal expenses. This case has a difficulty level appropriate for a junior or senior level course, although it may be used at a first-year graduate level, depending on the amount and complexity of the background information that is assigned. This case requires from one hour (if the instructor's goal is class discussion only) to four hours of preparation (if the instructor's goals involve presentations by individuals or teams of students). …

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