Communities are often faced with challenges associated with attracting and maintaining a membership base, which affects their ability to develop a pool of resources and ultimately impacts their sustainability. A potential resolution to this challenge lies in the members of the community referring non-members to the community – member referrals. While community joining has been acknowledged as important stage in the life cycle of community members; however, the way in which a member becomes aware of a community and its resulting influence on their engagement with the community has not been examined. This research-in-progress paper outlines the examination of the role of referrals on member turnover and tenure. Drawing upon theories of referrals from organizational behavior and marketing, the paper theorizes that referrals have the potential to facilitate the awareness of, and interest in, a community, which ultimately influences new members to return to, and stay, in a community.
Bateman, Patrick J.; Gray, Peter H.; and Butler, Brian S., "SHOULD I STAY OR SHOULD I GO: THE ROLE OF REFERRALS ON ONLINE COMMUNITY MEMBER TURNOVER AND TENURE" (2010). ICIS 2010 Proceedings. 101.