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1. Relationship formation and maintenance<br />Social Exchange Theory <br />1<br /> 2. Economic theories of relationships<br />these theories…
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  • 1. Relationship formation and maintenance<br />Social Exchange Theory <br />1<br />
  • 2. Economic theories of relationships<br />these theories referred to as economic theories of relationships<br />Uses concepts from economics and from operant conditioning<br />Focus on how partners monitor and regulate their relationships<br />ie. how & why they decide to form a relationship, and stay in it, & why & when they may terminate it<br />2<br />
  • 3. Social Exchange Theory (Thibaut & Kelley 1959)<br />This makes the basic assumption that all social behaviours are a series of exchanges in which something is given and something gained<br />It argues that partners wish to maximise rewards from a relationship (eg. love, sex, companionship, support) & minimise costs (time, effort, money spent, opportunities lost, risk involved)<br />The goal is to achieve a situation of profit: where rewards exceed the costs <br />The extent of profit can be calculated from subtracting the costs from the rewards<br />Where a situation of profit occurs, the person will commit to that relationship<br />To judge how one partner compares to another potential one on the profitability front, partners use a comparison level – a standard against which all relationships are compared<br />The comparison level is based on memories of past experiences combined with expectations of what we want and can expect in the future<br />When we meet a new partner, he/she is compared with the comparison level, and if the profit of this new relationship is thought to exceed the comparison level, a relationship will be formed<br />Then if the person meets someone else, the comparison level for alternatives is referred to<br />This is where the potential rewards from the new partner are greater than the costs of ending the existing relationship<br />If the rewards are greater, the existing relationship may be terminated and a new one formed<br />3<br />
  • 4. Potential evaluation & commentary<br />Cultural bias (beta) (eurocentric)<br />Gender bias (beta)<br />Portrays people as selfish & calculating and ignores altruism and meeting needs<br />Reductionistic to argue that exchange only motivating factor<br />Can explain why people stay in abusive relationships<br />But doesn’t explain why people leave with no alternative<br />Clarification needed of the comparison level<br />May be applicable to other types of relationships eg. friendships<br />4<br />
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