Author ORCID Identifier

Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Alisa Brink

Second Advisor

Christopher Reina


The purpose of this paper is to discuss reciprocity and the role it plays in helping us understand interactions between parties in accounting settings. The concept of reciprocity states that individuals will reward kind behaviors and punish unkind behaviors. (Fisher et al. 2015; Fehr and Gächter 2000; Fehr and Gächter 1997). When trying to trace the origins of the theory of reciprocity, it is useful to track the initial constructs on which it is built from various literary sources. This process contributes to developing an understanding of how reciprocity is used to explain behaviors in the workplace. The notion of reciprocity has a long history and is defined in many iterations of social literature dating back to ancient philosophers. Roman politician Cicero, for example, stated: “there is no duty more indispensable than that of returning a kindness” and “all men distrust one forgetful of a benefit” (Gouldner 1960). This early philosophical sentiment exemplifies the integral role positive reciprocity plays in society and the potential avarice an individual may encounter when not returning positive actions with displays of positive reciprocity.

Through this review, I gather literature that builds on the concept of reciprocity. I organize commonly found themes and organize settings previously used to focus on the multiple constructs to build upon reciprocity.


© Kelly Green

Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission


Included in

Accounting Commons