Social Exchange Theory By: Emily McConaghy, Cailin Whincop, Jolene Krantz, Brenda Westerman
What Is Social Exchange Theory? • Is a Psychological Theory that attempts to explain the social factors that influence how individuals interact within reciprocal relationships • Basically, attempts to describe the motivations people have to continue or end relationships based on costs, rewards, alternatives, and relational exchanges.
All relationships have give and take, although the balance of this exchange is not always equal • According to this theory, people weigh the potential benefits and risks of social relationships • People will only be generous if they expect some personal benefit to come to them because of it
When the risks outweigh the rewards, people will terminate or abandon that relationship • Examples of personal gain from self sacrifice can include a show of gratitude from the recipient or the approval of the donor’s peer group
Essentially, the theory says that people seek relationships that provide more rewards than costs and their perception of the balance between rewards and costs is based on comparison level, what a person thinks they ought to give and receive in a relationship, and comparison level for alternatives, the value of alternate relationship options a person feels is available to him/her. Therefore, the balance between rewards and costs can predict the ultimate outcome of a relationship.
Prince Charles and Princess Diana • Trade – Off Marriage • Diana offered the benefits of youth, fertility, and beauty that would ensure a healthy and attractive heir to the thrown and was of noble blood • Charles offered wealth, a luxurious lifestyle and the opportunity for Diana to become Queen
Cont’d • Their marriage provided to heirs • Diana couldn’t withstand the restrictions of the royal family • Charles was unwilling to end his relationship with Camilla Parker-Bowles • Therefore, the benefits of the relationship did not outweigh the costs
Twilight • Edward and Bella are both perfect for each other • Although, in “Twilight” Edward was unable to control himself from hurting Bella • The expensive pf Bella’s life was more than their strong relationship • In “New Moon”, Edward had to leave her becauuse of this