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[Excerpt] Relational cohesion theory explains how and when people who are exchanging things of value develop stable, cohesive relations. It starts from the idea that people tend to interact or do things with others because they get something they value or want from those others. They give something to the other and receive something in return. This is termed a social exchange. The valued "goods” that are exchanged may be tangible or intangible. Employees exchange their labor for pay, clients exchange money for services, neighbors exchange assistance with each other's yards, coworkers exchange advice and information, roommates exchange respect for each other's belongings, and friends exchange emotional support for each other.


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© SAGE. Final version published as: Lawler, E. J. (2010). Relational cohesion theory [Electronic version]. In J. M. Levine & M. A. Hogg (Eds.), Encyclopedia of group processes & intergroup relations (pp. 690-691). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications. doi: 10.4135/9781412972017.n211
Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.

Suggested Citation
Lawler, E. J. (2010). Relational cohesion theory [Electronic version]. Retrieved [insert date], from Cornell University, ILR School site: