Exafference Principle Of


EXCHANGE/SOCIAL EXCHANGE THEORY. The terms exchange and social exchange refer to a model of social structure that is based on the principle that most social behavior is predicated in the individual's expectation that one's actions with respect to others will result in some type of commensurate return. Exchange theory is a body of theoretical work in sociology and social psychology that emphasizes the importance of the reward-cost interdependence of group members in shaping their social interaction patterns as well as their psychological responses to one another (cf., behavior-exchange model/theory - the conjecture that human behavior, especially interactive behavior, may be understood as an exchange of rewards and costs). The most comprehensive social exchange theories are those of the American social psychologists John W. Thibaut (1917-1986) and Harold H. Kelley (1921-2003) and the American sociologists George C. Homans (1910-1989) and Peter M. Blau (1918-2002). Social exchange theories involve an analogy between economic relationships and other kinds of social relationships where an exchange is assumed to occur when each of the parties involved controls goods valued by the others, and each values at least some of the goods that others control more than at least some of the goods that she or he controls (goods may be any commodity, condition, person, or act that has value for the individual). Social exchange theories differ in their conceptual language and in the explicit reference to economic or behavioral psychology concepts. Homans' theory borrows concepts and language (e.g., frequency, value, reward, satiation, and extinction) from B. F. Skinner's behavioral psychology, and focuses on concepts of equilibration in exchange, attempting to explain social interaction in small groups. Homans also uses the concepts of expectancy and distributive justice in which the parties to an exchange should receive rewards proportional to their costs and investments. Blau's theory, although similar to Homans', makes more explicit use of economic concepts such as indifference curves, power, and normative obligation. Much of Blau's theory is concerned with the roots of emergent social structure in social exchange patterns in small groups. Thibaut and Kelley's theory uses the language of group problem solving (with two-person, dyadic groups) in which many of the assumptions are common to the reinforcement concepts of behavioral psychology. Thibaut and Kelley make extensive use of reward-cost matrices derived from game theory, which led to the development of various indices of individuals' interdependence, such as definition of parties' power over each other and their conflicts of interest ("correspondence" versus

"noncorrespondence" of outcomes). Thibaut and Kelley also invoke the concept of reflexive control, which refers to the extent that an individual can unilaterally affect her or his own outcomes in a relationship via chosen behaviors. Through analyzing the particular aspects of power in a given encounter, Thibaut and Kelley were able to predict the likely course of social interaction. They also analyzed persons' attractions to relationships based on how the outcomes received in a relationship compare to the individual's "comparison level" (i.e., a standard for evaluating the goodness of outcomes from a relationship based on a central tendency of the distribution of all outcomes from previous salient relationships). Although Thibaut and Kelley's analyses are concerned primarily with dyadic relationships, their same principles have been applied to larger groups in studying topics such as coalition formation, status, and role differentiation in groups. Some theoretical approaches to social exchange argue that the concrete nature of the outcome sought affects the nature of the exchange. For example, U. Foa and E. Foa advance a classification of rewards based on "concreteness" versus "ab-stractness" and on situational specificity in which some outcomes are not exchangeable (e.g., love will be exchanged for love, but not for money). According to I. Altman and D. Taylor's social penetration theory, which addresses the nature and quality of social exchange and close bonds, relationships progress from superficial exchanges to more intimate ones as people begin to give more of themselves to one another; their exchanges become both broader (including more areas of their lives) and deeper (involving more intimate and personally meaningful areas). The social penetration process may involve a greater sharing of possessions or physical intimacy, but the most important commodity of all may be the sharing of innermost thoughts and feelings with another in the act of "self-disclosure." In his gain-loss theory, E. Aronson also has applied the principles of social exchange theory to the factors that promote interpersonal attraction. For example, long-distance relationships may have the potential to be as rewarding as proximal ones; however, the former have higher costs associ ated with them in terms of time, effort, and financial expenditure and, thus, people usually choose to have relationships with individuals who live close by. See also ATTRIBUTION THEORY; EQUILIBRIUM HYPOTHESIS; EQUITY THEORY; GAME THEORY; INTERPERSONAL ATTRACTION THEORIES; LOVE, THEORIES OF; SEXUAL ORIENTATION THEORIES. REFERENCES

Skinner, B. F. (1938). The behavior of organisms: An experimental analysis. New York: Appleton-Century. Thibaut, J. W., & Kelley, H. H. (1959). The social psychology of groups. New York: Wiley. Homans, G. C. (1961). Social behavior: Its elementary forms. New York: Har-court, Brace, & World. Blau, P. M. (1964). Exchange and power in social life. New York: Wiley. Altman, I., & Taylor, D. (1973). Social penetration: The development of interpersonal relationships. New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston. Simpson, R. (1973). Theories of social exchange. Morristown, NJ: General Learning Press. Foa, U., & Foa, E. (1974). Societal structures of the mind. Springfield, IL: Thomas.

Heath, A. (1976). Rational choice and social exchange: A critique of exchange theory. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. Thibaut, J. W., & Kelley, H. H. (1978). Interpersonal relations: A theory of interdependence. New York: Wiley. Gergen, K., Greenberg, M., & Willis, R.

(Eds.) (1980). Social exchange: Advances in theory and research. New York: Plenum. Aronson, E. (1972/1984). The social animal.

San Francisco: Freeman. Alessio, J. (1990). A synthesis and formaliza-tion of Heiderian balance and social exchange theory. Social Forces, 68, 1267-1286.

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