Evaluations of resource distribution practices in the classroom: A further validation of resource exchange theory

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Building on Foa and Foa's (1980) structural theory of resource exchange (see elaborations by Sabbagh and Levy, 2012; Tornblom and Kazemi, 2012), the current chapter presents an integrated picture of resource distribution practices (hereafter, RDP) in the school-classroom setting. Rather than examining each resource distribution practice separately, the study conceptualizes all RDP as an interrelated system of evaluations structured along the dimensions of particularism/universalism (i.e., refers to the degree to which the resource is dependent upon a given personal or social context involved in the exchange) and symbolism/concreteness (i.e., the resource's tangibleness). Four types of resources were examined as relevant to the school-classroom setting (ranked from high to low on the dimension of particularism): Affection (love), respect (honor), knowledge (information), and learning-assistance (including instrumental resources such as money). To validate the RDP structure obtained, the study examines whether factors "external" to the structure are located within an RDP space assigned to it, and if so, where. Three such factors are considered: The sense of injustice regarding grade allocation, sense of procedural justice and sense of belonging. Student data were collected in the framework of a comprehensive study examining the sense of justice in schools (Sabbagh and Resh, 2014; Resh and Sabbagh, 2014). Participants were 5,084 eighth and ninth graders from a national sample of 48 Israeli middle schools (7-9). The Jewish sector was represented by 3,368 students in 33 schools; the Arab sector - by 1,716 students in 15 schools. In addition, 20 variables salient to RDP in the classroom were subjected to Smallest Space Analysis (i.e., multidimensional scaling) to determine their dimensionality and interrelationship structure (Pearson coefficients). Findings supported the expected structure of RDP structure - namely, RDP items can be arranged along the dimensions of particularism and concreteness. Moreover, the structure was further validated by the location of the justice variables (sense of justice in the allocation of grades, procedural justice, and belonging) on the RDP SSA space. This convergence underscores the importance of theorizing about the structure of RDP at the etic level. That is, the nomothetic perspective adopted here is conducive to revealing general laws, causal explanations, and common characteristics of RDP-related educational phenomena.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProgress in Education
PublisherNova Science Publishers, Inc.
Number of pages28
ISBN (Electronic)9781536132939
ISBN (Print)9781536132922
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 by Nova Science Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences


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