Abstract

Help-request referral programs (HRR) are increasingly adopted by online service providers to attract online traffic and engage new users. In these programs, participants are required to collect a specific amount of help from their social network in exchange for attractive rewards. Participants are often challenged to obtain positive feedback from their social networking groups due to the diffusion of responsibility. Based on the triangle model of responsibility, this study proposes and empirically tests a research model that examines two key determinants (i.e., request personalization and relational closeness) of recipients’ perceived responsibility that further shape their responses to HRR. Our field experiment empirically supports the research hypotheses. Overall, this study enriches the literature on online social referrals by focusing on HRR, where social referrals are broadcasted and senders reap all the referral benefits. The study also provides practical insights for HRR designers and social networking service providers.

DOI

10.17705/1jais.00781

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