Social Exchange Theory (Thibaut and Kelley, 1959)
- Economic theory - states that relationships are formed on the basis of rewards and costs.
- Relationships are a two-way process ie an interaction between two partners in terms of their own needs and expectations.
- Maximise rewards, minimise costs.
- If a partner supplies something we are short of eg emotional support we are more likely to want to be with them.
- Relationship will be maintained as long as rewards exceed the costs.
- Rewards → emotional support, financial support, positivity.
- Costs → money, time wasted that could be spent with someone else.
Outcome = rewards - costs
Social exchange theory suggests that there are four stages in a relationship:
1. Sampling - consider potential costs/rewards, compare to other relationships.
2. Bargaining - give/receive rewards, test strength of the relationship.
3. Commitment - relationship becomes predictable, know how to receive rewards.
4. Institutionalisation - norms are developed, pattern of rewards/costs for each partner.
Comparison level - standard by which alternatives are judged ie a potential partner is compared to past relationships - if they are above the CL you are more likely to want to be with them, but if they are above the CL you will not want to be with them.
- Cate and Lloyd (1988) - social exchange theory has some predictive value - the theory has been used to successfully predict how long a relatonship will…