Emotions and Group Ties in Social Exchange

Edward J. Lawler, Shane R. Thye, Jeongkoo Yoon

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

17 Scopus citations


This chapter presents a general theory specifying how people develop affective ties and commitments to groups. The foundation is research and theorizing about the role of emotion in social exchange. A central question is: When will people in social interaction or exchange attribute emotions felt to a group entity? The group can be a small local entity, a larger organization, or even a nation state. The research documents that positive emotions mediate the effects of social exchange on the formation of affective group ties, in part because people make social unit attributions of their emotions. Moreover, people make social unit attributions especially when they work on joint tasks that generate a sense of shared responsibility. Shared responsibility drives or moderates the interaction-to- emotion-to-group-tie process. Affective group ties enhance group-oriented behaviors and create more resilient social orders than instrumental ties.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHandbooks of Sociology and Social Research
PublisherSpringer Science and Business Media B.V.
Number of pages25
StatePublished - 2014

Publication series

NameHandbooks of Sociology and Social Research
ISSN (Print)1389-6903
ISSN (Electronic)2542-839X

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Authorship is alphabetical. This chapter is based on a program of research that was supported by five grants from the National Science Foundation.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2014, Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht.


  • Collective action
  • Commitment
  • Emotion
  • Group processes
  • Social exchange
  • Social order


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