Social Exchange Theory

Social Exchange Theory During the last fifteen years there has emerged in sociology and social psychology a distinct approach called social exchange theory. Four figures were largely respon­ sible: George Homans. John Thibaut. Harold Kelley, and Peter Blau. Homans in "Social behavior as exchange" ( 1 958) made a conscious effort to identify and ad­ vance this point of view. In 1961. he amplified his argument in Social Behavior: Its Elementary Forms, which has now been revised ( 1974). Also in the late 1950s Thibaut & Kelley were constructing their compact conceptual scheme in The Social Psychology of Groups ( 1 959). While different in important ways, their work con­ verged with Homans's, strengthening the general exchange approach. When Blau's Exchange and Power ( l 964a) appeared, the exchange approach was assured a future in the field. The differences between these three major works were as important in launching the exchange approach as were their similarities. While Blau gave more emphasis to technical economic analysis. Homans dwelled more upon the psychology of instrumental behavior. Yet in doing so, he drew upon a different brand of psy­ chology than that represented by Thibaut & Kelley. In addition. they employed different strategies of http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Annual Review of Sociology Annual Reviews

Social Exchange Theory

Annual Review of Sociology, Volume 2 (1) – Aug 1, 1976

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Publisher
Annual Reviews
Copyright
Copyright 1976 Annual Reviews. All rights reserved
Subject
Review Articles
ISSN
0360-0572
eISSN
1545-2115
DOI
10.1146/annurev.so.02.080176.002003
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

During the last fifteen years there has emerged in sociology and social psychology a distinct approach called social exchange theory. Four figures were largely respon­ sible: George Homans. John Thibaut. Harold Kelley, and Peter Blau. Homans in "Social behavior as exchange" ( 1 958) made a conscious effort to identify and ad­ vance this point of view. In 1961. he amplified his argument in Social Behavior: Its Elementary Forms, which has now been revised ( 1974). Also in the late 1950s Thibaut & Kelley were constructing their compact conceptual scheme in The Social Psychology of Groups ( 1 959). While different in important ways, their work con­ verged with Homans's, strengthening the general exchange approach. When Blau's Exchange and Power ( l 964a) appeared, the exchange approach was assured a future in the field. The differences between these three major works were as important in launching the exchange approach as were their similarities. While Blau gave more emphasis to technical economic analysis. Homans dwelled more upon the psychology of instrumental behavior. Yet in doing so, he drew upon a different brand of psy­ chology than that represented by Thibaut & Kelley. In addition. they employed different strategies of

Journal

Annual Review of SociologyAnnual Reviews

Published: Aug 1, 1976

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