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					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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