[Air-L] Exchange theory sources

Murray Turoff murray.turoff at gmail.com
Thu Feb 4 18:25:49 PST 2010

quote from page 105 of the network nation 2nd revised edition (1993 mit)
press but direct quote form the first edition in 1978 by addison weseley.

"One thing that seems to be able to explain addiction, in theoretical terms,
is exchange theory.  In its simplest form, as stated by George Homans
(Homans, 1958, 1961) no person will continue to engage in any behavior that
is not profitable.  "Profit" is defined as rewards for engaging in an
interaction minus costs."

"If we look at the rows referring to total items sent (further broken down
by messages and comments), we see that in computerized conferencing, even
the most active users "profit"; that is, they receive back considerably more
items than they sent.  How can this be?  It is because each message can be
multiply addressed, and each conference items is received by all members of
the conference."  (Table 3-2, page 104) data gathered by statistical monitor
sample of EIES users 1976-1977 eliminating any support roles for the system
operation or development.  The sample was 129 users and broken down by their
hours of experience with the system.

The revised 1993, edition can still be bought form MIT press, it only added
one new chapter of new findings and some related theories supporting the
design of computer mediated communications.

chapter 14:  Superconnectivity:  Computers, Communications, and Social
chapter 3 social dynamics: the impact of computer mediation

chapter 11 has a chapter on economics that translates the idea here to an
analytical effort model of the human time to create (type) a contribution
vs. the return or payoff of the time to read a return and showing at what
level of replies under different conditions is the creator payed in added
words returned to him in the replies.  It compares the results to verbal
meetings where everyone is contributing in audio sequences and how many
people it takes to make face to face meeting less effective than online
discussion in conveying information.  It is quite up todate in that it is
based on average values for typing, reading, speaking rates.   It also shows
how to add costs of travel, phones, and costs of either online or
face-to-face meetings based upon average salaries of participants.

George Homans, "Social behavior as exchange" american journal of sociology
1962  597-606
Homans, 1961 Social behavior: its elementary forms, harcourt, brace ....

Distinguished Professor Emeritus
Information Systems, NJIT
homepage: http://is.njit.edu/turoff

More information about the Air-L mailing list