American Sociological Association

Exchange, Identity Verification, and Social Bonds

Although evidence reveals that the social exchange process and identity verification process each can produce social bonds, researchers have yet to examine their conjoined effects. In this paper, we consider how exchange processes and identity processes separately and jointly shape the social bonds that emerge between actors. We do this with data from an experiment that introduces the fairness person identity (how people define themselves in terms of fairness) in a negotiated exchange context. The findings reveal how both exchange and identity processes operate in an independent as well as contingent manner to influence the development of social cohesion at the micro level. The contingent nature of the results suggests both exchange and identity theories need to be modified to account for these contingencies.


Jan E. Stets, Peter J. Burke, and Scott V. Savage





Starting Page


Ending Page