Keep them alive! Design and Evaluation of the "Community Fostering Reference Model"

Ulrich Bretschneider, Marco Hartmann, Jan Marco Leimeister
2017 Business & Information Systems Engineering  
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
more » ... ines 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. Abstract 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.
doi:10.1007/s12599-017-0500-6 fatcat:6on57sho7bhozcml464piugfma