Compare Explanations for Relationship Breakdown Given by Exchange Theory and Equity Theory

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  • Topic: Debut albums, Relationship breakup, Human bonding
  • Pages : 2 (694 words )
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  • Published : November 26, 2012
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Compare explanations for relationship breakdown given by exchange theory and equity theory. Which do you consider to be the most convincing and why? What does Duck’s theory add to the explanation? The Exchange Theory which was put forward by Homans in 1971 suggests that when we are in a relationship, we keep an eye on what we are putting in and getting out of a relationship. It argues that whether ir not we are satisfied depends on the ratio of rewards and costs that are given within the relationship. If the person involved feels as though, for them, the rewards outweigh the costs, they will most likely feel satisfied with the relationship as they do not need to give as much, however, if the person involved feels like the costs outweighs the rewards, they will become dissatisfied with the relationship and this will result in them becoming likely to look elsewhere for ‘better offer’ and the previous relationship will breakdown. On the other hand, Equity Theory which was developed by Walster in 1978, does not argue that if the rewards outweigh the costs the person will be happy, but that when in a relationship, the people involved expect the relationship to be fair. Where Exchange Theory would say that people would leave a relationship as it is if they felt they were in the advantaged position where rewards are concerned, Equity theory says that the person would look to restore the equity within the relationship by either reducing their input or increasing their outputs. If this does not appear to work, it is likely that the relationship will breakdown as an equilibrium has not been reached. I think that the Equity Theory is a more convincing approach to the breakdown on relationships as most people in the 21st century, are more likely to try and ‘work it out’ if the relationship appeared to be in turmoil. It is true that if someone feels like they aren’t getting enough out of the relationship, then the relationship is more likely to break down, but this the...
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