Response Paper: Status

Social behavior pertains to the exchange of material and non-material goods such as symbols of approval or prestige while status flows as a result. Similarly, a person that gives much to others aims at getting much from them, and the influence process works at equilibrium in the quest of balancing the exchanges. Social behavior is premised on the fact that human beings are rational actors that seek rewards and avoid punishments. The paper discusses how status flows through exchange and deference by giving examples and outlining the differences between the two. It also provides a succinct explanation on why wineries demonstrate status deference when making wine.

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Status flow through exchange relations appears when loose equality of the value is transferred between parties. Moreover, the nature of exchange in this status flow can include but not limited to material goods and payments (Podolny 14). An apt example is a marriage where both the husband and wife alternatively receive some gifts or rewards as the marriage takes place. A status flow through deference is premised on inequalities where an individual orchestrates a certain deed in the quest of acknowledgment that the other person should be regarded as a superior (Podolny 14). An example is when the manager of a company recommends following the advice of a recruit for the staff members. It shows that the manager acknowledges the new employee hence exhibiting a deference relationship.

The difference between the two is that deference relations have an ulterior objective of giving someone credit for their actions whereas status flow through exchange involves giving each other credit once in a while. Therefore, in a deference relationship, retaliatory acts are not guaranteed while the acts are secured in an exchange relationship. Moreover, in an exchange relationship, it is important for both parties to have equal status; otherwise, one may lose his/her social ranking (Podolny 15). For instance, if a high-profile businessperson associates with a low-profile businessperson in an exchange relationship, the former will experience a status loss. However, it is highly likely that the latter person will experience a status gain. It happens unlike in case of deference relationships where a pollution of status is not blatant. Nevertheless, the cost of social exchange can encapsulate punishments experienced, foregone rewards or energy invested in the relationship. Moreover, the satisfaction in an exchange relationship stems from the evaluation of potential outcomes (Podolny 14). However, the outcomes, in this context, can be equated to the rewards obtained minus the costs incurred.

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Wineries also demonstrate status deference by seeking affiliations with established appellations in the quest of raising their status, earning credibility, and ultimately increasing market share. For instance, the system of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) was instigated to enhance the value of American wine to ensure its quality is commensurate with global standards (Benjamin and Podolny 568). The Bureau achieves this objective by determining the viticultural designations that can be placed on a wine label. Subsequently, wineries place an appellation on the bottles to show the origins of its wine. Such an action accords the winery a certain status or identity that increases the credibility of wineries because it is believed that viticultural affiliations are subject to consumer’s assessment (Benjamin and Podolny 569). For this reason, different wineries establish a relationship with ATF thus demonstrating status deference. However, different appellations can vary by quality as well as their status.

There is another common trend in the industry. The regions are subordinated to other regions as wineries embrace cross-regional affiliation (Benjamin and Podolny 570). An example is when a winery from one region is accorded with another region on its label as it is a clear act of deference. In fact, a winery that seeks affiliation from the high status regions such as Sonoma Valley or Napa Valley attains a higher status compared to the wineries that seek affiliation from lower status regions (Benjamin and Podolny 570). Similarly, wineries associated with the regions of the higher status can charge higher prices for their wine.

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When two parties are involved in an association, there is likely to be an exchange or deference relation. The ramification of any relation is that status leaks through the linkage, especially where the involved parties are of a different status. In this respect, the higher status individual will experience a drop while the lower ranking individual will have a gain. Similarly, wineries demonstrate status deference by being associated with the higher status appellations and regions such as Napa Valley.

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