The main idea in balance theory (also known as consistency theory) is that maintaining a harmonious balance of sentiments is the implicit goal in interactions with other people (Heider, 1946, 1958; Newcomb, 1953, 1968). A major assumption of the theory is that people tend to organize their thoughts, beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors in meaningful, sensible, and consistent ways (Heider, 1946; Osgood & Tannenbaum, 1955; Festinger, 1957; Zajonc, 1960).
According to the theory, people are aware of their surroundings and of the events that take place in their environment (their life space) through a process of perception. People are affected by their environment and cause changes in their environment. People have wants and sentiments ...