The Norm of Reciprocity: Scale Development and Validation in the Chinese Context
26 Pages Posted: 20 Oct 2006
To add greater theoretical precision to a fundamental construct in social exchange theory namely, Gouldner's norm of reciprocity, this study developed a measure of Sahlins' generalized, balanced, and negative reciprocity types and validated its psychometric quality in China. For a comprehensive construct validation of the new scale, we carried out three studies. After generating a pool of items, we used a panel of experts to classify items according to conceptual definitions of the three reciprocity types. Using factor analysis, the first study revealed a factor structure consistent with Sahlins' reciprocity typology. In the second study, confirmatory factor analysis replicated this factor structure as well as demonstrated that the reciprocity factors are distinct from each other and other social-exchange constructs. In line with extant theories, the third study corroborated a nomological network relating reciprocity types to external constructs. Given this broad array of evidence for its construct validity, future researchers can employ this validated scale to investigate various forms of social exchange in Chinese work settings.
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