RELATIONSHIPS - The Equity Theory

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  • The Equity Theory
    • General
      • developed later after SET
      • EQUITY - equal / fair
      • introduced by Hatfield (1970)
      • arguably, less simplistic theory than SET
      • takes account of both people's perception BUT from one viewpoint
      • before a couple had children -> rel is more likely to be equitable
        • less equitable with children
        • baby = priority
        • some women may find it more rewarding - spend lots of time with child (rewarding)
    • Evaluation (A03)
      • builds on and less simplistic than SET
      • takes account of both people's perception
      • still portrays people as selfish
      • close rels are too complex to allow for precise assessment of various rewards and costs
      • equity seems more important to females- theory not applicable to both genders
      • MOGHADDAM - argued there is no cross cultural evidence - US students prefered equity, but UK students prefered equality
    • Perception of equity
      • work out your profit and loss situation and then you work out their p + l situation and compare the 2 (is it equal)
        • if equal (in profit / loss) -> maintain rel
        • if you are better than them -> someone might still be unhappy
          • guilt
          • someone who likes to give
        • if they are better than you -> breakdown begins
      • being fair may have different significance at diff points
        • older rel -> equity = not as important. Not thinking about profit as much.
        • new rel -> equity is important in early days. In past, women may have gone along with inequity - protection, social expectations
    • 4 stages of equity
      • 1. Principle -> rewards = max, loss = min
      • 2. Distribution -> trade-offs and compensations are negotiated to achieve fairness
      • 3. Dissatisfaction -> greater the unfairness, greater the dissatisfaction
      • 4. Realignment -> if restoring equity is possible, maintenance will continue with attempts to restore equity
    • Research
      • ARGYLE - people don't think about rewards and costs in close rels - equity is not a valid explanation of rel maintenance
      • DAINTON - rels with perceived inequity had lower satisfaction but were motivated to restore it to normal
      • YUM - rels across 6 cultures - little effect to equity theory -> theory has cross cultural evidence and can be generalised


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