Chapter 4

Balance Theory

Abstract

Balance theory is a sociological construct originated by Fritz Heider that explores relative valence of a range of positive to negative psychosocial relationships among individuals and networks of many such relationships. Congruence and dissonance is at the root of forming and withdrawing relationships that lead to networks. Balance is a desired stability property in dyadic relationships as well as networks among a group of friends and enemies. Study of network balance has wide ranging applications from international relations to interpersonal networks. For instance, US sanctions and other changes in policy toward other countries can be predicted and subsequent effects can be studied. Exercises invite application ...

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