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Structural Change in Exchange Relations

by Abra, Gordon.

Abstract (Summary)
The social exchange research tradition has examined the effects of structural factors on behavioral and psychological outcomes. Emerson’s power-dependence perspective has driven many of these projects, and I follow this line of work. In spite of Emerson’s suggestion that changes in the structure of networks should be a focus of investigation, power-dependence research to date has focused exclusively on networks as static, unchanging entities. I extend social exchange theory to consider the effects of structural change on actors within social exchange networks. I predict that dynamic networks and static networks produce different effects on behavioral commitment and on the psychological variables of trust, pleasure and interest. I test these hypotheses using a factorial experimental design. Support for the hypotheses is mixed, and examination of empirical results uncovers some unexpected findings with respect to the exchange behavior of actors in equal-power versus unequal-power networks. Actors in equalpower networks show indifference between potential exchange partners, while actors in unequal-power networks demonstrate unexpectedly high levels of behavioral commitment. Drawing on power-dependence theory, I also generate and test positionally-specific predictions for the psychological variables. 10
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School:The University of Arizona

School Location:USA - Arizona

Source Type:Master's Thesis

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