Chapter 3: Big Theories of Intimate Relationships | Intimate Relationships: W. W. Norton StudySpace
Rewards/benefits; Costs/vulnerability; Satisfaction; Stability and security. Self- Pearce & Sharp make an interesting distinction among three related terms. In an equitable relationship, costs and rewards are balanced, which usually leads . Although friendships vary across the life span, three types of friendships are. The Equity Theory of Love: Definition, Examples & Predictions . discuss the theory's three components: cost-benefit analysis, comparison level, calculating the value of a relationship in terms of potential rewards and costs.
Within this model, there are different types of support Social support a person can receive, those being intangible, tangible, instrumental, and informational. Intangible support can either be social or emotional and can be love, friendship and appreciation that comes with valuable relationships.
Tangible support are physical gifts given to someone such as land, gifts, money, transportation, food, and completing chores.
Instrumental support are services given to someone in a relationship. Finally, informational support is the delivering of information that is helpful to an individual. Cost being equal, they choose alternatives from which they anticipate the greatest rewards. Rewards being equal, they choose alternatives from which they anticipate the fewest costs.
Communication in Relationships
Immediate outcomes being equal, they choose those alternatives that promise better long- term outcomes. Long-term outcomes being perceived as equal, they choose alternatives providing better immediate outcomes. Costs and other rewards being equal, individuals choose the alternatives that supply or can be expected to supply the most social approval or those that promise the least social disapproval.
Costs and other rewards being equal, individuals choose statuses and relationships that provide the most autonomy. Other rewards and costs equal, individuals choose alternatives characterized by the least ambiguity in terms of expected future events and outcomes. Other costs and rewards equal, they choose alternatives that offer the most security for them. Other rewards and costs equal, they choose to associate with, marry, and form other relationships with those whose values and opinions generally are in agreement with their own and reject or avoid those with whom they chronically disagree.
Other rewards and costs equal, they are more likely to associate with, marry, and form other relationships with their equals, than those above or below them. Equality here is viewed as the sum of abilities, performances, characteristics, and statuses that determine one's desirability in the social marketplace.
In industrial societies, other costs and rewards equal, individuals choose alternatives that promise the greatest financial gains for the least financial expenditures. In his article published inNye originally proposed seven propositions that were common in all types of relationship, A few years later he would expand the propositions to a total of twelve. The first five propositions listed are classified as general propositions and are substance free-meaning, the propositions themselves can stand alone within the theory.
Proposition number six has been identified by scholars as a notion that there is a general assumption of a need for social approval as a reward and can therefor act as a drive force behind actions.
Proposition seven will only work if the individual has the freedom to be excluded from outside factors while in a social exchange relationship. The twelfth and final proposition is directed towards the way our society has a heightened value placed on monetary funds. By studying such forms of behavior he hoped to illuminate the informal sub-institutional bases of more complex social behavior, typically more formal and often institutionalized.
His vision of the underpinnings of social structure and institutional forms is linked to the actions of individuals, for example to their responses to rewarding and punishment circumstances. This set of theoretical ideas represents the core of Homans's version of social exchange theory.
Malinowski[ edit ] With his Kula exchange, Malinowski drew a sharp differentiation between economic exchange and social exchange. Using his Kula exchange, Malinowski states that the motives of exchange are only social and psychological. Mauss argues the exchange found in the society is influenced by social behaviors, while morality and religion influence all aspects of life. Bohannan[ edit ] Bohannan focuses his theory on economic problems such as multicentrism, and modes of exchange. He contributed to the social exchange theory finding the role and function of markets in tribal subsistence economies, makes a distinction of economic redistribution and market exchange from social relationships.
Polanyi[ edit ] He proposes three principles to create a new idea for socioeconomic change, transforming traditional economies, and political economic development. Sahlins[ edit ] He presents the idea that the economy is a category of behavior instead of just a simple category of culture. Assumptions[ edit ] Social exchange theory is not one theory but a frame of reference within which many theories can speak to another, whether in argument or mutual support. Thibaut and Kelley have based their theory on two conceptualizations: Thus, the assumptions they make also fall into these categories.
The assumptions that social exchange theory makes about human nature include the following: Humans are rational beings. The standards that humans use to evaluate costs and rewards vary over time and from person to person. The assumptions social exchange theory makes about the nature of relationships include the following: Relational life is a process.
The prisoner's dilemma is a widely used example in game theory that attempts to illustrate why or how two individuals may not cooperate with each other, even if it is in their best interest to do so. It demonstrates that while cooperation would give the best outcome, people might nevertheless act selfishly.
We cannot achieve our goals alone so as humans sometimes we have to become actors.
Social Exchange Theory - Major Contemporary Concepts
In the world today we see actors as unemotional people but that is not the case once we reach our goals in the end. Comparison levels[ edit ] Social exchange includes "both a notion of a relationship, and some notion of a shared obligation in which both parties perceive responsibilities to each other". This evaluation rests on two types of comparisons: Comparison Level and Comparison Level for Alternative.
According to Thibaut and Kelley, the Comparison Level CL is a standard representing what people feel they should receive in the way of rewards and costs from a particular relationship.
An individual's comparison level can be considered the standard by which an outcome seems to satisfy the individual. If people see no alternative and fear being alone more than being in the relationship, social exchange theory predicts they will stay. This is congruent with their assumption that human beings are rational.
In order for behavioral sequences to lead to social exchange, two conditions must be achieved: The reciprocity principle refers to the mutual reinforcement by two parties of each other's actions. Once the process is in motion, each consequence can create a self-reinforcing cycle. Even though the norm of reciprocity may be a universally accepted principle, the degree to which people and cultures apply this concept varies.
Social exchange theory - Wikipedia
For instance, some theorists view power as distinct from exchanges, some view it as a kind of exchange and others believe power is a medium of exchange. Fate control is the ability to affect a partner's outcomes.
Three different matrices have been described by Thibaut and Kelley to illustrate the patterns people develop. These are given matrix, the effective matrix and the dispositional matrix. ReciprocityGeneralized Exchange, and Productive Exchange. In a direct exchange, reciprocation is confined to the two actors.
One social actor provides value to another one and the other reciprocates. There are three different types of reciprocity: Productive exchange means that both actors have to contribute for either one of them to benefit.
Both people incur benefits and costs simultaneously. Another common form of exchange is negotiated exchange which focuses on the negotiation of rules in order for both parties to reach a beneficial agreement. One major difference between the two exchanges is the level of risks associated with the exchange and the uncertainty these risks create ref. Negotiated exchange can consist of binding and non-binding negotiations.
When comparing the levels of risk within these exchanges, reciprocal exchange has the highest level of risk which in result produces the most uncertainty. Binding negotiated exchanges involve the least amount of risks which will result the individuals feeling low levels of uncertainty.
Whereas non-binding negotiated exchanges and their level of risks and uncertainty fall in between the amount of risks associated with reciprocal and binding negotiated exchanges. Critiques[ edit ] Katherine Miller outlines several major objections to or problems with the social exchange theory as developed from early seminal works  The theory reduces human interaction to a purely rational process that arises from economic theory.
The theory assumes that the ultimate goal of a relationship is intimacy when this might not always be the case. The theory places relationships in a linear structure, when some relationships might skip steps or go backwards in terms of intimacy.
Russell Cropanzano and Marie S. Mitchell discuss how one of the major issues within the social exchange theory is the lack of information within studies on the various exchange rules.
Specifically, Rosenfeld looked at the limitations of interracial couples and the application of social exchange theory. His analysis suggest that in modern society, there is less of a gap between interracial partners education level, socioeconomic status, and social class level which in turn, makes the previously understood application of social exchange mute.
Comparison level[ edit ] Interdependence theory also takes into account comparison level. This involves the expectation of the kinds of outcomes a person expects to receive in a relationship. Therefore, to determine whether or not someone is in a satisfying relationship, it is necessary to consider both the rewards and costs evident in that relationship as well as that person's own comparison level. Quality of alternatives[ edit ] Comparison level correlated with the rewards and costs of a relationship determine satisfaction and commitment for a particular person in a relationship.
However, there are some situations where people may be committed, but not have a satisfying relationship or they may be satisfied in their relationship, but not committed to it. Thus, the quality of alternatives helps people understand the 'alternatives' they have outside of their current relationship. When people have good alternatives, they tend to be less committed to their relationships. By contrast, when people have poor alternatives, they tend to be highly committed to their relationships.
The costs of social exchange relationships can involve punishments experienced, the energy invested in a relationship, or rewards foregone as a result of engaging in one behavior or course of action rather than another Blau Satisfaction with exchange relationships: Satisfaction with an exchange relationship is derived, in part, from the evaluation of the outcomes available in a relationship.
Outcomes are equal to the rewards obtained from a relationship minus the costs incurred. Although it is generally the case that the higher the level of outcomes available, the greater the satisfaction, these concepts are not equivalent. To account for satisfaction, both the experiences of the outcomes derived from the relationship and the expectations that individuals bring to their relationships are taken into account Nye ; Sabatelli ; Thibaut and Kelley The concept of Comparison Level CL was developed by Thibaut and Kelley to explain the contributions that previous experiences and expectations make to the determination of how satisfied an individual is with a relationship.
Individuals come to their relationships with an awareness of societal norms for relationships and a backlog of experiences. The CL is influenced by this information and, thus, reflects a what individuals feel is deserved and realistically obtainable within relationships, and b what individuals feel is important for them to experience within a relationship.
When the outcomes derived from a relationship exceed the CL particularly highly valued outcomes or ones that are important to individualsglobal assessments of a relationship are likely to be high Nye ; Sabatelli ; Thibaut and Kelley According to exchange theorists, satisfaction with a relationship alone does not determine the likelihood that a relationship will continue. Thibaut and Kelley developed the concept of comparison level of alternatives CLaltdefined as the lowest level of outcome a person will accept from a relationship in light of available alternatives, to explain individuals' decisions to remain in or leave a relationship.
The CLalt is an individual's assessment of the outcomes available in an alternative to the present relationship. When the outcomes available in an alternative relationship exceed those available in a relationship, the likelihood increases that person will leave the relationship.
Hence, staying in or leaving a relationship is not simply a matter of how rewarding that relationship is. Relationships that are rewarding are more likely to be stable because a high level of outcomes reduces, in terms of expectations, the likelihood of a better alternative existing.
Unsatisfactory relationships, in turn, may remain stable for the lack of a better alternative. These relationships have been conceived of as nonvoluntary relationships by Thibaut and Kelley Married individuals who stay in violent relationships can be thought of as participating in a nonvoluntary relationship—that is, the relationship stays stable in spite of the violence because of the absence of better alternatives Gelles