Formulation Of Exchange Theory In Peter Homans's Social Behavior As Exchange

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In “Social Behavior as Exchange”, Homans outlines an exchange paradigm, which in its basic form, seeks to explain social behavior in terms of costs and rewards. Homans based his exchange paradigm on the principles of behavioral psychology, and sought to explain the "sub-institutional," or elementary, forms of social behavior in small groups. In doing so, he sees social exchange as a set of general propositions that in explanation of human behavior, constitute a necessary starting point for examining issues related to social structure. The current role of theory in small group research makes the connection between experimental and real life studies, to consolidate the propositions that empirically hold true in the two fields, and to show how…show more content…
Generally speaking, exchange theory analyzes the mutual gratifications people provide to one another that are sustaining to social relations. The basic assumption of social exchange theory is that people establish social associations because they expect the associations to be rewarding. Thus, they continue the social interaction and enlarge it because of the rewarding nature of the associations. Even though people seek social associations, they are often hesitant to initate initial interaction for fear of being rejected. People often try to overcome this fear of rejection by trying to impress others with whom they are interested. They display their human, intelligence, wit, etc. in an attempt to establish a rewarding relationship. People also enjoy doing favors for each other which highlights the fundamental distinction between social and economic exchange. Economic and social exchange engender different obligations, wherein those in economic exchange are specified in an implicit or explicit contract, establishing the precise nature of the obligations of both parties. This is not the case for social exchanges, wherein favors by contrast, create diffuse obligations to be discharged at some future date. Therefore, large scale social exchange is unlikely to occur unless firm social bonds embedded with trust have been established. The most important product gained from the association fortifying their social bond is the growing mutual advantages. Social exchange implies some sort of rationality, but the prime benefit it seeks once the friendship bond of mutual support and trust are established is the rewarding experience derived from the relationship itself. Blau predominately looks at dyadic groups and the groups to which the dyad belong. These external groups have two
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