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Are word-of-mouth referrer types linked to customer personality?
This conceptual paper discusses possible links between consumers word-of-mouth behaviour and their personality. The importance of word-of-mouth referrals is explored, personality of customers is discussed and the possibility of links between the two constructs are made. A gap was identified in the literature with respect to referrer types and possible links with personality. The findings from two exploratory studies are reported which identify five different referrer types of consumers for cafés and restaurants: opinion leaders, helpful friends, passive mercenaries, reciprocators and closed mouth. The results of a survey of 209 respondents showed a weak correlation between introverts and opinion leaders, while there was a significant negative correlation between opinion leaders and helpful friends. The inclusion of two moderating variables (age and gender) slightly improved the strength of the correlations. The results indicate value in further investigating potential relationships between personality and word-of-mouth behaviour. A proposed theoretical framework was developed together with seven hypotheses. The contribution of this paper is to identify a new direction for research to not only promote a better understanding of the referral behaviour of consumers, and by linking this approach with personality measures, to also gain a better understanding of the motivations of consumers’ referral behaviour.