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Köster, Antonia; Matt, Christian ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-9800-2335 and Hess, Thomas ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-3969-7477 (2015): The Role of Communication Types on Referral Acceptance in Social Networks. 21st Americas Conference on Information Systems, AMCIS 2015, Puerto Rico, August 13-15, 2015. In: AMCIS 2015 Proceedings,

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The advancement of communication tools has changed interpersonal communication among consumers. Companies leverage different communication tools to reach customers, while it is unclear, how communication types affect online referral acceptance. This study draws on affordances and social presence theory to investigate the role of two communication types (i.e. private and public) in social networks on recipients’ intention to accept a referral. Furthermore, we examine how rewards (i.e. for the referrer or receiver) impact the likelihood of referral acceptance depending on the communication type. We conducted a 3x2 between-subjects experiment. Results demonstrate that referrals without any reward are equally accepted in both communication types. However, when a referral includes a receiver reward, consumers prefer to receive the referral through the private communication type rather than through the public communication type. This research yields empirical evidence that helps companies facilitate the selection of appropriate communication types for unrewarded and rewarded online referrals.

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