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Download Citation on ResearchGate | The Norm Of Reciprocity: A Preliminary Article in American Sociological Review 25(2) · April with 1, Reads. DOI: / Cite this publication. Alvin Ward GOULDNER. Abstract. American sociologist Alvin Gouldner () was the. first to propose the existence of a universal, generalized. norm of reciprocity. He argued that almost all. (). More than four decades ago, Gouldner clarified the concept and its dimensions and assumed the existence of a universal norm of reciprocity in a.

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Clearly,the norm of reciprocity cannot apply with full force in relationswith children, old people or with those who recipricity mentally orphysically handicapped, and it is theoretically inferable that other,fundamentally different kinds of normative orientations will developin moral codes.

Given the often vague use of theterm “right,” it is quite possible that this proposition, in oneaspect, is only an expansion of some definition of the concept”right. Again, while the concept of “exploitation”assumes central importance in Parsons’ commentary on thepatient-doctor relation, it is never precisely defined, examined, andlocated in his general theory.

It is obviously inexpedient for creditors to break offrelationships with those who have outstanding obligations to them. In social psychology, positive reciprocity refers to responding to a positive action with another positive action rewarding kind actions.

There can be no adequate systematicsociological theory which boggles at the issue; indeed, it is one ofthe many virtues of Parsons’ work that it confronts the egoismproblem. Harvard University Press, p.

Each maythen feel that it would be advantageous to lay hold of the other’svaluables without relinquishing his own. This page was last reciprociity on 23 Julyat The other two meanings of complementarity differ substantially. They can achieve this only through the ness, satisfaction with recuprocity, better performance, persistence establishment of a democratic order that entails equal at tasks, and reduced anxieties.


As we have seen, Parsons stresses that the stability of socialsystems largely derives from the conformity of role partnersto each other’s expectations, particularly when they do their duty toone another.

The norms of reciprocity in interactions among employees underlie Adam Grant ‘s distinction between “giver cultures” and eeciprocity cultures” as two end-points of a scale, with “matcher cultures” in between. So, too, is the problemof whether such a norm is part of or distinct from a more generalnorm which simply nork that one return some unspecified benefits to benefactors.

While she was still immature thefather could use his power to take advantage of her. These are the kinds of questions that werefamiliar to the earlier students of “collective behavior,” who, infocusing on crowds, riots, and rumors, were often primarily concernedwith investigating the development of groups in statunascendi.

Norm of reciprocity – Wikipedia

Two pilot and six reclprocity indicated that poor self-control causes people to violate social norms and rules that are effortful to follow. Unconditionality would,indeed, be at variance with the basic character of the reciprocitynorm which imposes obligations only contingently, that is, inresponse to the benefits conferred by others. In effect, then,reciprocity has its significance for role systems in that ittends to structure each role so as to include both rights andduties.

Remember me on this computer. Given significantpower differences egoistic motivations may seek to get benefitswithout returning them. Similarly, only research can resolve thequestion whether a norm of retaliation exists in any given group, isthe polar side gouuldner the norm of reciprocity, or is a distinctive normwhich may vary independently of the reciprocity norm.

Even under normal conditions, the savage’s compliance withhis moral code is at best partial, conditional, and evasive. Itis in this sense that some concept of reciprocity apparently has beensmuggled into the basic but unstated postulates of functionalanalysis.

Norm of Reciprocity – Gouldner

Reciproocity some cases, a person does not have to ask for the other person to return a favour because it’s already implied. American Political Science Review 80 4: If, however, it had been better understood that compensatorymechanisms might have been substituted for reciprocity, or that powerdisparities might have maintained the “survival” despite its lack ofreciprocity, then many fruitful problems may well have emerged.


Nonetheless, the general norm of reciprocity offers another source of motivation and moral sanction for conforming with specific status obligations; nprm other people have been fulfilling their status responsibilities to you, you then have a second-order obligation to fulfill your status responsibilities to them as well. Reciprocitt as this is not simply postulated in analogy withthe principle of inertia in physics, apparently reciprocity isaccounted for by Parsons, and also by Homans, as a result of thedevelopment of a beneficent cycle of mutual reinforcement.

All status obligations are vulnerable tochallenge and, at times, may have to be justified.

Becker for this and many otherinsights into what seemed to be the guiding impulses of the “ChicagoSchool” of collective behavior. A Study in ComparativeEthicsLondon: Individuals evaluate Preliminary Statement.

Norm of reciprocity

It is notable that Parsons fails to definethe power situation in his basic model of Ego-Alter equilibrium. I believethat one of the strategic ways in which such basic assumptions can bedeveloped is by recognizing the manner in which the concept of reciprocity is tacitly involved in them and by explicating theconcept’s implications for functional theory. This is not to cay, however, thatMalinowski regards deciprocity qua transaction as always intended by all the actors or as something of whichthey are always aware.