This research investigates the process through which individuals build cohesive relationships in positively connected exchange relations. Positive connections exist any time exchange in one relation must precede exchange in another. Such situations arise through gatekeeping, in generalized exchange contexts, and when resources diffuse across a network. Prior exchange research has focused primarily on negative connections, whose defining feature is competition, leaving theoretical understanding of cohesion-building in positive connections relatively underdeveloped. A key feature of positive connections is that unlike negative connections, they allow actors to exchange often even if their relationship is power-imbalanced. Consequently, we propose that in positive connections, structural power affects cohesion primarily through the mediating effects of power use and emotions, but not through exchange frequency and uncertainty. Results of a laboratory experiment support this causal model and enhance our understanding of the distinctive processes operating in positive connections.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Social Psychology