The Social Exchange Theory

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The Study of Blau's Ideas

The study explores the relationship between Blau's ideas of power, unfair trades, extrinsic incentives, and intrinsic rewards, as well as how these ideas clarify Blau's theoretical philosophies. The ability of individuals within their social interactions to behave in accordance with their own will in spite of feelings of resistance is defined as having authority.

Power and Rewards

Blau contends that the only way someone can exert control over another is by giving them the rewards they require. The inability of a person to receive benefits from another source or for that source to provide rewards results in that person's independence. Therefore, power is perceived to arise from the element of different exchange stanching from group or singular domination over an anticipated resource.

Principles of Power

Notably, power is guided by several principles including the fact that, more power is held by that individual who supplies more services in return for some valued services. Also, those people providing the reward have less extract to compliance if there are more than one sources of rewards to the person receiving the favor and if the receivers can apply coercion and force, the ones providing the prizes have less extract to compliance.

Providers and Conformity

The last principal of power is the fact that providers have less extract to conformity if the receivers can do without them.

Intrinsic and Extrinsic Rewards

Intrinsic rewards define things that are found pleasurable in and of themselves and not as a result of providing the means of getting other benefits. Love is the purest example of an intrinsic reward, and when a person decides to go for a walk with a friend or even celebrate a holiday with a family, he or she experiences an intrinsic reward. On the other hand, extrinsic rewards cannot be detached from the suggestion in which they are acquired (Appelrouth & Edles, 2008). Therefore, when a person associates with other people, it serves as a means to a further end.

Imbalanced Exchange and Social Rewards

The imbalanced exchange of social reward elaborates the concept that the pleasures experienced by humans have its source from the social life. On the other hand, sufferings that people undergo have to do with the interactions that people have towards each other and thus, an individual gets rewards at the cost of another. However, it is not always the case that society is a sum zero game but underlines the fact that individuals do not enjoy the same social benefits equally.


@Chadwick-Jones, J. (2015). Social exchange theory. London: Academic Press.

Appelrouth, S., & Edles, L. D. (2008). Classical and contemporary sociological theory: Text and readings. Pine Forge Press,

March 15, 2023
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Study Relationship Motivation

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