Social exchange theory is one of the most influential conceptual paradigms for understanding behavior. Over the years, differing perspectives on social exchange have evolved, bridging disciples such as anthropology, sociology, organizational theory, and social psychology. As a result, social exchange theory cannot be thought of as a single theoretical model. Rather, it is a general framework or conceptual point of view about how resources are valued and exchanged. Thus, there is no single social exchange theory but many different social exchange theories, each meaningfully elaborating on the general paradigm.

Theories of social exchange view social life as a series of transactions. Social exchange transactions involve the exchange of some resource, broadly defined, between two or more parties (individuals or institutions). These exchanges are viewed as interdependent ...

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