Responses of Taiwanese graduate students to favor requests from different social targets (peer vs. superior) were compared across two scenarios. Factors influencing the decision to accept or reject the request were also explored. When the favor request was consistent with the relational context (academic research), participants were more likely to accept the request from a professor than from a classmate. Those who accepted the professor's request were more likely to report authority-oriented reasons. When the content of the favor request was inconsistent with the relational context, participants tended to reject the request from both a professor and a classmate. Those who rejected the professor's request reported more self-assertive reasons for their decision. Although participants rated Rational Reciprocity as the most important factor in making their decision, inter- personal closeness seemed to be a major concern in deciding to do a favor for a peer. Social interactions for acquaintances in a Confucian society are influenced by Confucian ethics advocating the principle of respecting the superior and the principle of favoring the intimate, rather than solely by the principle of social exchange.
Journal of Social & Personal Relationships, 22(2), 283-394