Comparison level (CL) is a term used in Kelley and Thibaut's 1978 Interdependence model , the minimum outcome level one finds satisfactory. In John Thibaut and Harold Kelle's Social exchange theory , the standard by which the individual evaluates the quality of any social relationship. In most cases, individuals whose prior relationships yielded positive rewards with few costs will have higher CLs than those who experienced fewer rewards and more costs in prior relationships.

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