Firms host online communities for commercial purposes, for example in order to integrate customers into ideation for new product development. The success of these firm-hosted online communities depends entirely on the cooperation of a high number of customers that constantly produce valuable knowledge for firms. However, in practice, the majority of successfully implemented communities suffers from stagnation and even a decrease of member activities over time. Literature provides numerous guidelines on how to build and launch these online communities. While these models describe the initial steps of acquiring and activating a community base from scratch very well and explicitly, they neglect continuous member activation and acquistion after a successful launch. Against this background, the authors propose the Community Fostering Reference Model (CoFoRM), which represents a set of general procedures and instruments to continuously foster member activity. In this paper, the authors present the theory-driven design as well as the evaluation of the CoFoRM in a practical use setting. The evaluation results reveal that the CoFoRM represents a valuable instrument in the daily working routine of community managers, since it efficiently helps activating community members especially in the late phases of a community’s LifeCycle.
Bretschneider, Ulrich; Hartmann, Marco; and Leimeister, Jan Marco
"Keep them alive! Design and Evaluation of the “Community Fostering Reference Model”,"
Business & Information Systems Engineering:
Vol. 60: Iss. 6, 493-511.
Available at: https://aisel.aisnet.org/bise/vol60/iss6/4