Reciprocity is a social norm that obligates people to do good to those who have done good to them and to make reparations for any harm they do to others. Reciprocity is foundational to human relationships and a key component of social exchange theory. The concept of reciprocity informs theories of relationship marketing and public relations. This entry discusses the meaning of reciprocity, its role in social exchange theory, and its relevance to corporate reputation.

The Concept of Reciprocity

In its simplest form, the concept of reciprocity can be summarized with the Latin phrase quid pro quo (literally, “something for something”). When one person helps another, the person who received the help is generally expected to repay the first person in some way. Reciprocity seeks to achieve ...

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