Tourism is the largest industry in the world and provides income to the people and the government and a source of livelihood of many people (Sharpley 2008). By the end of 2006, there are more than 800…
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The Social Exchange Theory (SET) seeks to explore the “exchange of resources between individual and groups in an interaction” where “actors supply one another with valued resources” (Ap 1992, p. 668, cited in Andriotis 2009, para. 3). The theory, an eclectic approach that includes psychology, sociology and economics, studies tourism under a social psychological and sociological lens (Yutyunyong 2009). An individual will engage in exchange when: a) there is value to the reward, b) it is perceived that the exchange will result to a valued reward, and c) the perceived cost is not more than the perceived reward (Skidmore 1975, cited in Jennings & Nickerson 2006). Under SET, inhabitants of a place tend to “have a positive attitude to tourism as long as the perceived benefits exceed the perceived costs” (Yutyunyong 2009, p. 2). SET purports that a person seeks reward and avoid punishment, thus, he acts with expectation of profit in mind (Yutyunyong 2009). People participate in the exchange as it promises enhancement of economic life of the people (Yutyunyong 2009). Inhabitants uphold tourism in the area when the benefit they receive from tourism exceeds the negative effects (Yutyunyong 2009).
Under this theory, relationship among individuals is formed with an underlying cost and benefit objective (Yutyunyong 2009). Thus, if an individual sees that the cost would be more than the perceived benefit, the individual will abandon the relationship (Yutyunyong 2009). The relationship is equitable when the cost is equal to the benefit (Yutyunyong 2009), the notion of equity which Emerson (1962, cited in Yutyunyong 2009) believes to be main concern of the theory.
The theory seeks to understand the exchange of resources between individuals in the process of interaction wherein the object of the exchange possess a value that is measurable, with mutual transference of cost and benefit on both parties (Ap, 1992; Madrigal, 1995, cited in
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