Comparison processes in social exchange networks

David R. Schaefer, Olga Kornienko

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


The comparison processes introduced by Thibaut and Kelly (1959) are fundamental to social exchange theories of power. However, research has focused almost exclusively on only one type of comparison - the comparison between alternative sources of valued rewards (CLalt) - which affects relationship commitment. Thibaut and Kelley also articulated a more general comparison level (CL) that determines relationship satisfaction. We propose that in exchange settings where relationships are not interdependent, the network structure can affect an actor's CL, with subsequent effects on power use. Results of a laboratory experiment offer initial support for this hypothesis and call for greater research on comparison processes within exchange networks.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)185-204
Number of pages20
JournalAdvances in Group Processes
StatePublished - Dec 1 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science


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