Theory Of Social Interdependence
There are at least three general theoretical perspectives that have guided research on cooperation--cognitive-developmental, behavioral, and social interdependence. The cognitive developmental perspective is largely based on the theories of Piaget and Vygotsky. The work of Piaget and related theorists is based on the premise that when individuals co-operate on the environment, socio-cognitive conflict occurs that creates cognitive disequilibrium, which in turn stimulates perspective-taking ability and cognitive development. The work of Vygotsky and related theorists is based on the premise that knowledge is social, constructed from cooperative efforts to learn, understand, and solve problems. The behavioral theory perspective focuses on the impact of group reinforcers and rewards on learning. Skinner focused on group contingencies, Bandura focused on imitation, and Homans as well as Thibaut and Kelley focused on the balance of rewards and costs in social exchange among interdependent individuals. While the cognitive-developmental and behavioral theoretical orientations have their followings, by far the most important theory dealing with cooperation is social interdependence theory.