Sample Research paper on Social Exchange Theory

Social Exchange Theory


  1. Definition of social exchange theory

The definition of the aspect, social exchange theory will be considered from different perspectives.

  1. Studies that utilize the theory

Past studies carried out on the subject matter will be elucidated.

  • Patterns of interracial marriages
  1. Stability of a relationship

Will consider the aspect of stability in relationships with regard to relationships.


This theory mainly focuses on relationships that help individuals’ gain. It talks about rewards, costs and profits and how they relate to each other. For instance there are various rewards that are associated with a love affair that is love and affection, commitment, money and even status. On the other hand, costs are things that we try as much as possible to avoid doing; they are seen to be unenjoyably for example cleaning a mess that you did not cause. Finally profit is what remains after eliminating costs from rewards. Therefore the theory attributes that people tend to join relationships that give them the biggest profits rather than that with bigger costs (Cropanzano, Russell and Marie 90).

There are several studies overtime that has utilized this theory. To begin with are the patterns of interracial the recent past there has been an increase in the interracial love relationships across the world and to be specific in the United States of America. They have utilized the social exchange theory in that more blacks have married more whites for the profit factor, the whites are considered to have a higher status than the blacks hence the intermarriages occur for the profit of raising their own social status. Some blacks also marry the whites for the sake of money and financial benefits, due to the harsh economic times the increased number of interracial marriages has been for the gain of economic freedom to counter the hard economic times (Cropanzano, Russelland Marie 67).

There are various theoretical approaches that were used in explaining the social exchange theory in the interracial marriages,central to these findings like the traditional theoretical approach that focused on the fact that blacks marry whites for the social status gain. However,this resulted in a lot of issues especially issues related to equality and freedom to choose; this study jumpstarted the studies about the theory of social exchange because it ignited more insight regarding socio economic differences not only being the factor behind the intermarriages, besides current trends seem to also be doing away with the socio economic factors of exchange hence need for a further study and advancement of the explanations regarding racial intermarriages(Blau, Peter 78).

Second study is the stability of a relationship or a marriage; here it implies that for a relationship to be a success, there are many key factors that must be critically considered. Being fully satisfied alone for example does not guarantee the success of a relationship, there are various researches that have been conducted, this includes the comparison level of alternatives concept, this is the lowest a person can opt for in the availability of other alternatives, this will explain and determine whether a person ill live or stay in the very relationship (Cook, Karen, et al. 87).That simply means that when the outcomes of profits available in a different relationship are higher than those in the current relationship, then they are likely to live in order to enjoy the rewards; alternatively a person in a relationship that is not fulfilling and with a no alternative will simply remain there due to lack of an alternative (Cropanzano & Mitchell 54).

This research ignited another direction of study of the social exchange theory, in that it is not only profits or rewards that may keep a relationship ongoing,but also the presence of better alternatives. That is why most people may be in a non-profitable relationship but will still cling on because of lack of another better alternative. Hence need to keep triggering more research on all the reasons that promote the social exchange to occur.

Work cited

Blau, Peter Michael. “Social exchange theory.” (1987): 83-100.

Cook, Karen S., et al. “Social exchange theory.” Handbook of social psychology. Springer Netherlands, 2013. 61-88.

Cropanzano, Russell, and Marie S. Mitchell. “Social exchange theory: An interdisciplinary review.” Journal of management 31.6 (2005): 874-900.