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Equity Theory

Definition

Equity theory posits that when it comes to relationships, two concerns stand out: (1) How rewarding are their societal, family, and work relationships? (2) How fair and equitable are those relationships? According to equity theory, people feel most comfortable when they are getting exactly what they deserve from their relationships—no more and certainly no less.

Equity theory consists of four propositions:

Proposition I. Men and women are “wired up” to try to maximize pleasure and minimize pain.Proposition II. Society, however, has a vested interest in persuading people to behave fairly and equitably. Groups will generally reward members who treat others equitably and punish those who treat others inequitably.Proposition III. Given societal pressures, people are most comfortable when they perceive that they are getting roughly what they deserve ...
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