AdvisorMolm, Linda D.
Committee ChairMolm, Linda D.
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThe social exchange research tradition has examined the effects of structural factors on behavioral and psychological outcomes. Emerson's power-dependence perspective has driven many of these projects, and I follow this line of work. In spite of Emerson's suggestion that changes in the structure of networks should be a focus of investigation, power-dependence research to date has focused exclusively on networks as static, unchanging entities. I extend social exchange theory to consider the effects of structural change on actors within social exchange networks. I predict that dynamic networks and static networks produce different effects on behavioral commitment and on the psychological variables of trust, pleasure and interest. I test these hypotheses using a factorial experimental design. Support for the hypotheses is mixed, and examination of empirical results uncovers some unexpected findings with respect to the exchange behavior of actors in equal-power versus unequal-power networks. Actors in equal-power networks show indifference between potential exchange partners, while actors in unequal-power networks demonstrate unexpectedly high levels of behavioral commitment. Drawing on power-dependence theory, I also generate and test positionally-specific predictions for the psychological variables.