Academic journal article Social Behavior and Personality: an international journal

The United States and Russian in the New World Order: The Dynamics of Reciprocity and the Attributional Assessment of Perception and Behavior

Academic journal article Social Behavior and Personality: an international journal

The United States and Russian in the New World Order: The Dynamics of Reciprocity and the Attributional Assessment of Perception and Behavior

Article excerpt

International relations research has examined the relationship of the United States and Russia using a theoretical framework of reciprocity. The reciprocity research has subsumed the attributional characteristics of these actions and events that have shaped this relationship. This study evaluates the relationship between the United States and Russia. This dyadic relationship is examined by a reconceptualization of the character of reciprocal interaction between the United States and Russia. Reciprocity and attribution theory provide a heuristic to elucidate the transition to a New World Order. The international relations research on reciprocity reveals the general case for reciprocity between the United States and Russia. Attribution theory permits the decomposition of the perceptual and behavioral states of dyadic interactants.

This paper proposes the reconceptualization of the reciprocal relationship between the US and Russia using attribution theory. Reciprocity has been examined in terms of the levels of cooperation and conflict (Azar, 1980; Bogumil, 1993; Freeman & Goldstein, 1989; Patchen, 1988; Patchen & Bogumil, 1995,1997; Stem & Druckman, 2000a; 2000b). This position is implicit in the actions of the leadership of these nation states and is explicit in their public pronouncements on the character of the international decision-making processes (Holsti & Rosenau, 1988; Kelman, 1965; Larson, 1998; Parks & Komorita, 1998; Patchen, 1964, 1998; Raven, Schwarzwald & Koslowsky, 1998).

The present international relations paradigm's construction of the process of reciprocity can benefit from an alternative theoretical perspective that reconceptualizes the elements of interaction (Stem & Druckman 2000a; 2000b).

Attribution theory can illuminate the attribution states and their affect on the character of actions of the United States and Russia. This study utilizes the rational attribution theory developed by Weiner (Weiner, 1972, 1979, 1980a, 1980b, 1980c, 1983, 1985a, 1985b, 1986, 1992, 1995; Weiner et al, 1971; Weiner, Amirkhan, Folkes, & Verette, 1987; Weiner, Graham, & Chandler, 1982; Weiner, Graham, Stem, & Lawson, 1982; Weiner & Handel, 1985; Wiener, Heckhausen, Meyer, & Cook, 1972;Weiner & Kukla, 1970; Weiner, Kun, & Benesh-Weiner, 1980; Weiner & Litman-Adizes, 1980; Weiner, Nierenberg, & Goldstein, 1976; Weiner & Peter, 1973; Weiner & Potepan, 1970; Weiner, Russell, & Lerman 1978; Weiner, Russell, & Lerman 1979; Weiner & Sierad, 1975). These important contributions of attribution theory and their significant value to international relations research can only be fully recognized in the context of the prominent insights based in the canon of reciprocity research. Weiner's work on rational attribution theory is thoroughly developed in the aforementioned research. This study examines the dualistic formulation of attribution and reciprocity theoretical developments as a heuristic to further the reciprocity research in international relations. The study of attribution based on Weiner (1979) suggests a causal chain and a temporal duration of the chain of events that is central to the issue of the attribution process. This study asserts that the process of reciprocity is an artifact of a more conceptually complex process.

The development of knowledge that articulates the critical aspects of attribution theory and the understanding of the attribution states and their interpretative function is critical for the future study of reciprocity. Moreover, the identification of the interactants relevant to the attribution process may also be accomplished using this new perspective. Bogumil (1999, 2001) provides the following interpretation of the development of Weiner's attribution theory. "Locus of causality" as expressed by Weiner et al. (1971) offers a critical restatement and modification to the analysis of attribution of Rotter's earlier work on "locus of control" (Rotter, 1966). …

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