Change Psychology: Equity Theory

recently wrote about building up a resource for Change knowledge here within this very Blog. Finally I got the time to deal with some basic psychological questions of Change. I am looking forward to be able to share those insights on “Change Psychology” with you, here.

Description
People are happiest in relationships where the give and take are about equal. If one person is getting too little from the relationship, then not only are they going to be unhappy with this—the person getting the lion’s share will also be feeling rather guilty about this imbalance. This is reinforced by strong social norms about fairness.

In short-term relationships we tend to trade in things, such as loaning small sums or buying beers. In longer-term relationships the trade is more emotional.

Overall, though, it is still better to be getting more than less—although you could feel better about the relationship, the benefits you get from it can buy you compensatory happiness elsewhere.

Example
Men who have been pulled away from their family by their work sometimes try to even the scales with expensive holidays. This does not work well as they are trying to trade (short-term value) money for (long-term value) emotion.

So what?
If you are getting the short end of the stick in a relationship, use this to make the other person feel even more guilt than they already feel. Get them to focus on the value of the relationship itself rather than the more material things they are getting from it.

Defending
If you are getting what you want from a relationship, resist attempts to change the balance.

Psychology of Change (Picture source: http://inspirida.com) Original article taken from http://changingminds.org
Psychology of Change (Picture source: http://inspirida.com)
Original article taken from http://changingminds.org

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