Activating performance expectations and status differences through gift exchange: Experimental results

Elisa Jayne Bienenstock, Alison J. Bianchi

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations

Abstract

Early theoretical work on social exchange focused on how exchange relations generate social structural outcomes. Specifically, gift giving was said to evoke status structures. No experimental evidence exists to verify or refute the notion that gift giving during exchange processes generates status hierarchies. We present experimental results demonstrating the emergence of status inequalities directly from social exchanges in dyads. Our findings support the assertion that the receiving of a gift causes the recipient to feel deferential toward the exchange partner. More formally, we demonstrate how gift giving, linked to a behavioral interchange pattern, has the capacity to induce differential performance expectations. These results are a first step toward testing the theory that status is an emergent property of exchange.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)310-318
Number of pages9
JournalSocial psychology quarterly
Volume67
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2004
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology

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