Principles of Social Interaction/Exchange

Social interaction often leads to social exchanges where people not only talk but do things for each other; these are social exchanges. These principles apply to the people you work with: clients, employees, neighbors … everyone.

  1. The ‘exchanging’ of rewards is the basis of all social interaction.

Question: What rewards do we offer in return for cooperation and collaboration?

  1. All collaborative efforts are exchanges.
  1. Every exchange has a cost/benefit ratio: we avoid (or do badly or half-heartedly) those activities in which the costs outweigh the benefits; we seek to maintain, strengthen, enhance, and support those relationships where benefits outweigh costs.

Question: Describe the “ideal” positive exchange.

  1. Most (if not all) leadership/motivation problems (at the interpersonal level) are unbalanced exchanges (or the expectation of the consequences of the exchange) where costs outweigh benefits.
  1. Influence without authority—we gain influence with others when what we offer (in exchange for cooperation, collaboration, etc.) is needed, wanted, or valued.
  1. Scarce benefits are those that cannot be obtained easily elsewhere and are vital to the others’ success.
  1. Superior Bargaining Position (SBP)—when you have command of scarce or highly desirable resources, you possess a superior bargaining position.

Question: What are the dangers inherent with a SBP?

Joseph Bentley (Professor of Organizational Behavior at University of Utah)

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