28 February 2011 1 Comment
There has been much talk recently of how long Nick Clegg will last as leader of the Lib Dems with many predictions of an imminent end to lasting a long time. But what if we could actually predict this using an equation? An equation was developed to know if a relationship would break down which not only tells you if your relationship will end, but may also tell us if Nick Clegg is about to be kicked out as leader.
A relationship is the condition of being related through a connection or association. As Nick Clegg is the leader of the Lib Dems, those who are members have an association and therefore a relationship to/with him and many of the principles of relationships apply. There are two important factors in relationships which are happiness and stability. These 2 factors make up 4 possibilities: happy and stable, unhappy and stable, happy and unstable, and unhappy and unstable.
To predict which of these the relationship is currently in, relationship researchers have identified 3 equations.
Equation 1: Outcome = Rewards – (Costs x 5)
A reward is anything desirable that brings pleasure to the receiver. A cost is anything negative that’s punishing and unwanted. Any part of an interaction that causes frustration or distress is a cost. Humans tend to weigh negatives more strongly than positives, so for every cost there needs to be five rewards for the relationship to be on solid ground.
Equation 2: Satisfaction or Dissatisfaction = Outcomes – Expectations
Our expectations are based on our past experiences, and to be satisfied our relationship needs to be meeting our expectations.
Equation 3: Dependence or Independence = Outcomes – Alternatives
The last criterion involves how well one person perceives they could manage without the other. If another option promises better outcomes then they’ll consider ending things.
The ideal state would be a happy and stable relationship. Lib Dem members will perceive the outcome for the party with Nick Clegg as being much greater than both their expectations and the alternatives.
In an unhappy but stable relationship, members’ expectations would be higher than their current outcomes, so they’re dissatisfied, but because they feel they have no viable alternatives, they won’t move against him.
In a happy yet unstable relationship members will perceive the alternative choices as being better than the outcomes with Nick Clegg, meaning they might toy with the idea of moving against Nick Clegg, but they’re happy because he has exceeded their expectations.
Finally, if the members believe that the outcomes for the party with Nick Clegg are lower than both their expectations and the alternatives, the relationship between members and the leader will be unhappy and unstable, making it likely that they will try and get rid of him pretty quickly.