Social Exchange Theory Boise State University Social Dimensions of Human Behavior A conversation according to Social exchange theory Kirst-Ashman (2008). Human Behavior, Communities, Organizations, and Groups in the Macro Social Environment: An Empowerment Approach. pp 49. A Conversation Between Horace and Francine Rate the cost of each social exchange and effort given Historical Development Based on the original economic work of Adam Smith’s The Wealth of the Nations. Key Concepts Self-Interest is the Driving Economic Force Competition Mitigates Greed The Invisible Hand regulates the ebb and flow of free markets– we seek mutually beneficial options. Historical Development Adam Smith continued… Once economic forces become stable; then institutions emerge from the stability of economic forces Institutions form societal structures Thus social exchange is very vulnerable to those who have status or power within institutional hierarchies. Historical Development Continued…. George Hormans (1974) Proposed that social exchange is based upon the concepts of operant conditioning. Actions are increased by rewards or the absence of punishment Actions are based upon the perception that greater rewards can be obtained Anger or pleasure results from the unexpected withholding or provision of rewards. Key Concepts in Social Exchange Social exchange (relationships) are based upon four concepts: Cooperation- I am a proud member of the NASW and want to contribute to the greater cause of social work; so I am getting my MSW Competition John at the office is getting his MSW, so I should probably get mine…can’t let him get ahead. Conflict I hate my supervisor; I could be a better supervisor. I am going to get my MSW so I can become his or her boss. Coercion My supervisor to me to get my MSW or leave the agency. Key Concept is Social Exchange Theory A goal oriented human behavior is directed by the goal of profits Profits = Rewards minus the Cost of Invested Behavior Rewards Material (Economic) Symbolic (Attention, advice, status) Diminished Marginal Utility: The reward is received so often; it no longer has value. Scarcity: Increases the value of reward Power: Possessing a skill that is scarce or highly coveted Principle of the Least: The person least interested in the reward; has the most power. Class Discussion What is your perception of this theory based on your own morality? What moral presuppositions do you base this perception on? Based upon Kohlberg’s Theory of Moral Development; what is necessary to be moral in a social exchange culture? The Moral Balance in Social Exchange Theory Morality regulates the exchange processes The Rule of Distributive Justice Rewards are proportional to what is invested Investments are: Achieved or Ascribed Achieved is earning an MSW Ascribed is being recognized as an expert in a specific field of social work (status) Thus one groups investment may be perceived as more highly valued then another groups investment even though they both contribute the same amount. Status congruence refers to the preference of participants to be of the same status. The Law of Social Exchange (Nye, 1982, 20-21) Individuals chose alternatives from Individuals choose options that which they expect to profit. provide them with the most Cost being equal, they chose autonomy. alternatives that produce the greatest Individuals choose options with the reward least ambiguity in regards to future Rewards being equal, they chose the events and outcomes alternatives that anticipate the fewest People choose the options that offer costs the most security for them Immediate outcomes being equal, People pair up with like minded they choose those alternatives that individuals and avoid people who are promise better long term outcomes different in order to maintain status Long-term outcomes being equal, The more alike you are to someone; they choose alternatives with better the more you are likely to value them short term outcomes. Individuals choose opportunities that Cost/benefits being equal; people are likely to produce the greatest choose the most socially approved financial gain with the least cost. option. The Dynamic Yet Cyclical Force of Exchange Theory (Peter Blau, 1964) Exchange transactions lead to… Differentiations in Status and Power, which leads to… Legitimation and Organization, which leads too… Opposition and change…. From this we derive status, power, and norms. French & Raven (1968) Power Types Coercive: Ability to commit violence or deprive of livelihood Reward: Ability to give or withhold material reward or symbolic reward Expert: Ability to inform Legitimate: Ability to prescribe behavior Referent: Ability to command another’s respect (charming or charismatic) Social Exchange Case Studies How does social exchange theory apply to the following real life cases? Clients with mental illness are denied treatment, based upon the fact there is a cut in funding and the clients that once were deemed worthy of receiving active treatment are no longer considered eligible for service based upon symptomology. Social Exchange Case Study A nursing home limits the number of Medicaid patients they will take due to the lower payment received by State/Federal reimbursement; ironically Medicaid is the biggest payer of long- term care services. Social Exchange Theory Foster care parents in the State of Washington decided to unionize even though they are considered contractors; not employees of the State of Washington. They are demanding better pay, benefits, and additional training. Some individuals have noted that social workers have too much power in the system and foster care parents want more say in what goes on in the child’s life.
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