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Toward A Theory of Value - Richard M Emerson Notes on a Theory of Value - Debra Friedman Free Riders and Zealots - James S Coleman Microprocess and Macrostructure - Peter M Blau Linking Power Structure and Power Use - Linda D Molm Reinforcement Processes in Power-Dependence Relations Elements of Interactor Dependence - Peter V Marsden Resources, Interests, Exchange Networks, and Preference Configurations An Exchange Theoretical Approach to Defining Positions in Network Structures - Toshio Yamagishi Generalized Versus Restricted Exchange - Mary Rogers Gillmore Some Implications for Group Process Legitimacy and Justice - John F Stolte Activation of the Norm of Equity in Productive Exchange Emerson's Contibutions to Social Exchange Theory - Karen S Cook A Commentary on the Volume - Jonathan Turner
Social Exchange Theory
Exchange theory has been one of the major theoretical perspectives in the field of social psy-
chology since the early writings of Homans (1961), Blau (1964) and Emerson (1962, 1972).
This theoretical orientation is based on earlier philosophical and psychological orientations
deriving from utilitarianism on the one hand and behaviorism on the other. The vestiges of
both of these theoretical foundations remain evident in the versions of exchange theory that
are current today. In this chapter we will focus mainly on the theoretical contributions of
exchange theory to the analysis of social psychological and sociological phenomena of
importance in understanding the micro-level processes of exchange and the macro-structures
they create in society.
While early debates focused on the nature of the actor that inhabits the world of social
exchange few of these debates remain salient (see Ekeh, 1974; Heath, 1976). We discuss dif-
ferences in the underlying models of the actor in the different variants of exchange theory, but
we do not view these differences as critical to the major enterprise that has emerged over the
last two decades, which has been the efforts of exchange theorists to understand the social
structures created by exchange relations and the ways in which such structures constrain and
enable actors to exercise power and influence in their daily lives. Whether these interactions
are viewed as reciprocal exchanges or negotiated exchanges they are ubiquitous in social life
and important to study.
One major hallmark of recent research on social exchange in the field of sociology is its
attention to the links between social exchange theory and theories of social status, influence,
KAREN S. COOK AND ERIC RICE Department of Sociology, Stanford University, Stanford, California 94305
Handbook of Social Psychology, edited by John Delamater. Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers, New York, 2003.
54 Karen S. Cook and Eric Rice
social networks, fairness, coalition formation, solidarity, trust, affect and emotion. We address
these topics in our review of recent important contributions to exchange theory. Our review is
organized topically. First, we provide an overview of the major theories of social exchange.
Then we draw out some of the relevant distinctions between the different theoretical formu-
lations. After this exercise we discuss the main topics of research that have been studied by
the key contributors to the exchange tradition within the field of sociology over the past two
decades. We conclude with a brief statement concerning directions for future research. In par-
ticular, we focus on the linkages between the exchange tradition of work in sociology and
recent developments in related fields of inquiry such as economic sociology and social net-
works. In our view there are many important topics of research that have yet to be studied
fully within the exchange tradition and that provide an exciting research agenda for the future.
For Homans (1961) the dominant emphasis was the individual behavior of actors in interac-
tion with one another. His primary aim was to explain fundamental processes of social behav-
ior (power, conformity, status, leadership, and justice) from the ground up. Homans believed
that there was nothing that emerges in social groups that cannot be explained by propositions
about individuals as individuals, together with the given condition that they happen to be
interacting. In his effort to embrace this form of reductionism he parted company very clearly
with the work of Peter Blau (1964) who built into his theory of social exchange and social
structure an analysis of "emergent" properties of social systems.
Homans (1961, p. 13) defined social exchange as the exchange of activity, tangible or
intangible, and more or less rewarding or costly, between at least two persons. Cost was
viewed primarily in terms of alternative activities or opportunities foregone by the actors
involved. Reinforcement principles derived from the kind of behaviorism popular in the early
sixties (e.g., the work of B. F. Skinner) were used by Homans to explain the persistence of
exchange relations. Behavior is a function of payoffs, whether the payoffs are provided by the
nonhuman environment or by other humans. Emerson (1972a) subsequently developed a psy-
chological basis for exchange based on these same reinforcement principles.
Homans explained social behavior and the forms of social organization produced by
social interaction by showing how A's behavior reinforced B's behavior (in a two party rela-
tion between actors A and B), and how B's behavior reinforced A's behavior in return. This
was the explicit basis for continued social interaction explained at the "sub-institutional"
level. The existing historical and structural conditions were taken as given. Value is deter-
mined by the actor's history of reinforcement and thus also taken as a given at entry into an
exchange relation. Homans' primary focus was the social behavior that emerged as a result of
the social processes of mutual reinforcement (and the lack of it). Relations could also termi-
nate on the basis of the failure of reinforcement.
Dyadic exchange, the main emphasis of his work, formed the basis for much of his the-
oretical consideration of other important sociological concepts such as distributive justice,
balance, status, leadership, authority, power, and solidarity. Homans' work was often criti-
cized for two main reasons: it was too reductionistic (i.e., it took the principles of psychology
as the basis for sociological phenomena) and in analyzing the sub-institutional level of social
behavior it underplayed the significance of the institutional as well as the social processes and
structures that emerge out of social interaction. In this respect, it is somewhat ironic that one
of Homans' lasting contributions to social psychology has been his early treatment of the
Social Exchange Theory 55
issue of distributive justice in social exchange relations. The irony derives from the fact that
Homans was explicitly much less interested in norms since he was preoccupied with the "sub-
institutional" level of analysis in his study of elementary social behavior. His effort to focus
on elementary behavior is derived in large part from his opposition to the heavily system-
oriented and normative views of Parsons that held sway during the time that he wrote his trea-
tise on social behavior. In his autobiography, Homans (1984) refers to Parsons main work on
the social system as the "yellow peril." We discuss Homans' conception of distributive justice
in greater detail in the section on fairness in exchange relations.
Homans' key propositions framed the study of social behavior in terms of rewards and pun-
ishments. Behavior that is rewarded in general continues (up to the limit of diminishing mar-
ginal utility). His first proposition, the success proposition, states that behavior that generates
positive consequences is likely to be repeated. The second proposition, the stimulus proposition,
states that behavior that has been rewarded on such occasions in the past will be performed in
similar situations. The value proposition, the third proposition, specifies that the more valuable
the result of an action is to an actor, the more likely that action is to be performed.
The fourth proposition, the deprivation-satiation proposition, qualifies the stimulus
proposition introducing the general ideal of diminishing marginal utility: the more often a
person has recently received a particular reward for an action, the less valuable is an addi-
tional unit of that reward. Finally, the fifth proposition specifies when individuals will react
emotionally to different reward situations. People will become angry and aggressive when
they do not receive what they anticipate. Homans (1974) later argues they can become angry
when they do not receive a fair rate of return, introducing the normative concept of distribu-
tive justice into his analysis of dyadic exchange.
Blau, writing at about the same time, framed his micro-exchange theory in terms of
rewards and costs as well, but took a decidedly more economic and utilitarian view of behav-
ior rather than building upon reinforcement principles derived from experimental behavioral
analysis. A key distinction between these two broad perspectives, as Heath (1976) points out,
is whether the actor is forward-looking or backward looking in his determination of what to
do next. Utilitarianism generally looks forward. Actors are viewed as acting in terms of antic-
ipated rewards that benefit them and they tend to choose that alternative course of action that
maximizes benefit (and minimizes cost, but see Molm, Takashashi, & Peterson, 2000).
Reinforcement theories look backwards with actors valuing what has been rewarding to them
in the past. The micro-level exchange theory in Blau's work is embryonic and under-
developed though it is one of the first attempts to apply utilitarianism derived from econom-
ics to social behavior.
Blau viewed social exchange as a process of central significance in social life and as
underlying the relations between groups as well as between individuals. He focused prima-
rily on the reciprocal exchange of extrinsic benefits and the forms of association and emer-
gent social structures that this kind of social interaction created. According to Blau (1964,
p. 91): "Social exchange ... refers to voluntary actions of individuals that are motivated by the
returns they are expected to bring and typically do in fact bring from others." In contrasting
social and economic exchange he emphasizes the fact that it is more likely in social exchange
for the nature of the obligations involved in the exchange to remain unspecified, at least ini-
tially. Social exchange, he argues, "involves the principle that one person does another a
favor, and while there is a general expectation of some future return, its exact nature is defi-
nitely not stipulated in advance" (Blau, 1986, p. 93).
The first third of the book specifies the nature of the social processes that result in asso-
ciations between individuals (e.g., attraction). Two conditions are defined as important in the
... The effects of JS on TI can also be explained by the Social Exchange Theory. According to the theory, social behavior is a result of an exchange process with the goal of maximizing benefits (Cook & Rice, 2006). Employees may behave socially in ways that indicate a growing desire to leave their positions when they expect particular values or elements of their job but are unable to receive as much as they expected. ...
... JS significantly affects TI negatively, as the analysis showed that H5 was supported. The findings for H4 and H5 are also aligned with the Social Exchange Theory (Cook & Rice, 2006). The theory explained that if people get positive benefits from their jobs, they will be more satisfied and engaged. ...
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This research aims to examine the determinant factors related to lowering turnover intention in a pharmaceutical company. The variables used in this research are succession planning (SP), employee engagement (EE), job satisfaction (JS), and turnover intention (TI). This research seeks to determine which variables are directly related to gain more insight in order to formulate the best strategy in the future. This research was conducted on a population of 2,359 employees at anIndonesian multinational pharmaceutical company. With Slovin’s determination method, the minimum required sample size is 331. However, a total sample size of 529 is obtained. The variables are analyzed with PLS-SEM. The result depicts that EE and JS have a direct effect on TI. Meanwhile, because SP influences both EE and JS but not TI, thus EE and JS may have a mediating effect.
... In addition, we filtered out five participants who did not pass the attention checks on the post-study survey and eight who did not interact with the CA for more than 30 minutes between two songs in two daily tasks. 1 Finally, we obtained valid responses from 90 participants, among whom 57.78% were female (N = 52) and 42.22% were male (N = 38). All participants were young adults [19][20][21][22] ...
... Such social information can transform individual listening experiences into collaborative listening experiences and cultivate self-expression [57]. As per social exchange theory [20], online self-disclosure has a reciprocal effect that could promote others' self-disclosure [7], which may explain the positive effect of social information on expression depth. ...
... The present study is founded on the social exchange theory, which provides a basis for the interrelationship among person-organization fit, employee engagement, turnover intention, and understanding of workplace behaviour (Blau, 1964;Cropanzano & Mitchell, 2005;. Social exchange theory argues that social exchange involves the idea that one person gives another favour, and while there is a general hope of any potential return, its exact essence is not specified in advance (Blau, 1986;Cook & Rice, 2006). According to Blau (1968), the core concept of social exchange theory is that social and material resources are essential to human interaction. ...
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This study is grounded in the social exchange theory. The present study aims to investigate employee engagement's intervening role in the relationship between person-organization fit and turnover intention of business process outsourcing (BPO) companies in Metro Manila, Philippines. The participants were identified using a purposive sampling technique from BPO employees (n = 302). Quantitative research and a predictive-causal approach were used to measure interrelationships among constructs, and partial least squares–structural equation modeling (PLS-SEM) was employed to estimate the parameters of the structural model. The findings revealed that person-organization fit and employee engagement significantly and negatively affect turnover intention. Moreover, a significant and positive relationship between person-organization fit and employee engagement was also observed. Employee engagement was also found to significantly and negatively mediate between person-organization fit and turnover intention. Future research includes developing a study comparing BPO companies to other industries based on the three latent variables used in this undertaking.
... Study utilizes a combination of social exchange and social identity theories as a foundation to explain the path that links socially responsible activities to customer loyalty. Social exchange theory refers to when one party favors the other because it expects a benefit in return [18]. According to this theory, companies will inevitably benefit from increased customer satisfaction and positive customer evaluation, which, in turn, generate retention and revenue for the company. ...
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This study aims to determine whether and how investing in corporate social responsibility (CSR) practices results in better attitudinal and behavioral loyalty. It seeks to comprehend the path linking CSR and customer loyalty through customer-company identification (C–CI), trust, and satisfaction as mediators. Partial least squares (PLS)-based structural equation modeling was applied to examine the theoretical model using SMART PLS. The data were collected through online questionnaires from 385 customers of Morocco's three-, four- and five-star hotels. The results conclude that CSR practices significantly contribute to customer loyalty through the mediating components of C–CI and trust. Surprisingly, unlike previous studies, the influence of CSR on customer satisfaction is insignificant. CSR influences customer satisfaction only through C–CI and trust. Moreover, the relationships between mediators, rarely explored by previous researchers, revealed that C–CI contributes to trustworthiness and customer satisfaction. Trust can also generate customer satisfaction.
... Researchers have depended on social exchange theory for many years to explain relationships in business studies. This theoretical perspective is based on preceding philosophical and psychological perspectives that emerged from behaviorism and utilitarianism, respectively (Cook & Rice, 2006). Blau (1965) was one of the first scholars who laid the foundations of the social exchange theory. ...
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Drawing on social exchange theory (SET), this study aims to investigate the impact of hotel brand experience (HBE) on developing customer citizenship behaviors (CCBs). A total number of (500) valid questionnaires were collected using convenience sampling to test the measurement model and hypotheses using SmartPLS The results show that hotel brand experience dimensions have a significant impact on CCB, except for hotel location. Hotel staff competence, Hotel website, and social media, guest-to-guest experience, and hotel stay affected CCB, respectively. Thus, these findings help both academics and hotel managers. For academia, the research extends the growing literature that is concerned with experience branding. Moreover, researchers are encouraged to explore other variables that impact CCB directly or indirectly by mediating other variables. For hotel managers, these results will help them when they are tailoring their branding strategies, and the result will guide them to focus their effort on critical dimensions of their hotels' experiences.
Purpose Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is gaining recognition and value among researchers, academicians and business professionals. Drawing on theories of social identity and person–organisation fit, the present research propounds a model that investigates the role of CSR branding in influencing employee retention. Design/methodology/approach The paper is based on primary survey data from 348 employees working in organisations in the Indian industrial hubs. The study uses the regression and PROCESS macro model to analyse relationship among study variables. Findings The study indicated how CSR initiatives could help organisations handle the threat of high turnover storm all over the world, thereby retaining the employees with a high set of skills. Moreover, the paper connotes that employee retention is influenced directly by CSR branding as well as indirectly under the presence of organisational identification and person–organisation fit (mediators). Practical implications Results suggest the role of a positive identity and a mutual fit as significant predictors of employee retention. The implications for future research on CSR, employees' stay intentions, employees' identification and value congruence are further discussed in light of the findings. Originality/value The novelty of this research insists on shedding light on the indirect mechanisms linking CSR to employee retention that has been overlooked so far, particularly in the Indian setting; studies on an integrated model of organisational identification and person–organisation fit are limited.
I examined the perspectives of followers regarding their turnover intention within a major healthcare organization as impacted by the influence of an executive leader. I conducted a single study to understand the impact of a Chief Nursing Officer’s leadership on the observable low turnover rate within two hospitals. The conceptual framework included the concepts of organizational commitment and group identity. The data analysis suggested that the leader influenced a lower turnover intention within the organization by providing empathy, an environment of collaboration, and competent problem-solving.KeywordsFollowershipHealthcareLeadershipTurnover
In the late nineteenth and early twentieth century Russian and US psychologists crafted behaviorism. However, scholars such as George Herbert Mead and George Homans adapted it for more explicitly social theories. The study of learning and stimulus‐response (S‐R) connections became the dominant theoretical paradigm in social and behavioral sciences during the first two thirds of the twentieth century. Because of its emphasis on socialization and the environment, behaviorism starkly contrasted with the Social Darwinist and biological determinism paradigms of the time, and helped pave the way for social egalitarian movements. Other adaptations, such as those by Lev Vygotsky, contributed to explaining the development of the self and internalizing social norms.
Workplace loneliness is the perception of relationship deficit in any organization which hampers the employee’s psychological well-being, which is an essential attribute for overall organizational performance. The objective of this study is to understand the effect of workplace loneliness and perceived organizational support on psychological well-being and the moderating effect of resilience on psychological well-being. The study has gathered 391 data points from various working executives in different organizations in India. The data have been analysed by using Partial Least Square Structural Equation Modelling (PLS-SEM). The results have shown a negative association between workplace loneliness and a positive association with perceived organizational support for psychological well-being. It has also been exhibited that resilient employees discount the perception of loneliness in the workplace. The results of this study will certainly help organizations design their policies for supporting employees and develop resilient employees through necessary interventions. The study is unique in highlighting the effect of one of the negative workplace attributes and the essential ways to overcome the same in a single study.
The first text to demonstrate how to actively persuade guests to participate in achieving sustainable hospitality.