A Dual Model of Reciprocity in Organizations

Wayne Baker

in The Oxford Handbook of Positive Organizational Scholarship

Published in print August 2011 | ISBN: 9780199734610
Published online November 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Library of Psychology

A Dual Model of Reciprocity in Organizations

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  • Psychology
  • Organizational Psychology
  • Social Psychology



In this chapter, I develop a dual model of reciprocity in organizations that brings together mainstream reciprocity theory and positive organizational scholarship (POS). Reciprocity theory assumes that people are self-regarding; they give only if doing so builds a reputation for generosity that pays off in the future. Positive organizational scholarship assumes that people are naturally other-regarding, giving to others without regard to self. Moral sentiments, defined as positive emotions such as gratitude, motivate prosocial behavior. I take a middle ground, arguing that most people in organizations have mixed motives, simultaneously concerned for self and for others. The dual model combines the mechanisms of reputation and moral sentiments. I describe examples of this dual model in organizations, focusing on human resource practices and everyday work practices that appeal to people with mixed motives. I conclude with a discussion of future research directions based on this dual model.

Keywords: Reciprocity; pay it forward; exchange; indirect reciprocity; moral sentiments; positive emotions; positive practices; social capital

Article.  7953 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Organizational Psychology ; Social Psychology

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