Face-Negotiation Theory is a theory conceived by Stella Ting-Toomey in , to understand how people from different cultures manage rapport and disagreements.
In conflicts, one's face is threatened; and thus the person tends to save or restore his or her face. This set of communicative behaviors, according to the theory, is called " facework ". Since people frame the situated meaning of "face" and enact "facework" differently from one culture to the next, the theory poses a cultural-general framework to examine facework negotiation. It is important to note that the definition of face varies depending on the people and their culture and the same can be said for the proficiency of facework.
In this theory, "face" is a metaphor for self-image, which originated from two Chinese conceptualizations: lien and mianzi. Lien is the internal moral face that involves shame, integrity, debasement, and honor issues.
Mien-tzu, on the other hand, is the external social face that involves social recognition, position, authority, influence and power.
Erving Goffman also situated "face" in contemporary Western research and conceptualized the terms lien and mien-tzu as identity and ego. The two forms of facework include restorative and preventive. Restorative facework is the act of reinstating face after the loss of it has taken place; preventive face is the act of communicating to safeguard the threat of face being lost.
Thus participants wants are of more importance than the interaction itself in face saving view of politeness. In fact, researchers Brown and Levinson posit that face is something that "is emotionally invested, and can be lost, maintained, or enhanced, and must be constantly attended to in interaction".
Ting-Toomey expanded this thinking and conceptualized face as an individual's claimed sense of favorable social self-image in a relational and network context. With these concepts and frameworks, face-negotiation theory investigated intercultural conflict styles.
The perceived or actual conflict differences revolved around three issues: content, relational, and identity. Relational conflict refers to how individuals define, or would like to define, the particular relationship in that particular conflict episode.
Identity-based conflict concerns issues of issues of identity confirmation-rejection, respect-disrespect, and approval-disapproval. A face-threatening episode is an identity expectancy violation episode. Thus, the face-negotiation theory views conflict, intercultural conflict in particular, as a situation that demands active facework management from the two interdependent conflict parties.
It can also be noted that in face-negotiation, individuals negotiate face not only with others, but with themselves, as well. The theory has gone through multiple iterations since its creation. There is a version of seven assumptions and 12 propositions,  a version of seven assumptions and 32 propositions,  and most recent the version of seven assumptions and 24 propositions. Face and facework are universal phenomena. Thus, the theory assumes that: .
Face-negotiation theory primarily deals with five sets of themes: face orientation or concerns, face movements, facework interaction strategies, conflict communication styles, and face content domains. The orientation of face determines the focus with which the face negotiator will direct her or his attention and energy of the conflict messages.
Face negotiation theory
For example, in individualist cultures, such as the United States, Germany, and Great Britain, there is great value on personal rights, freedoms and the "do it yourself" attitude. Individualists cultures are seen as promoting independence for individuals  In collectivist cultures such as Japan, Saudi Arabia, and Colombia, more value is placed on "we" vs.
The needs of the group outweigh the needs of the individual, making independence or individualism viewed as selfish. Face orientation also involves the concept of power distance. People from large power distance cultures accept unequal power distributions, are reliant on established hierarchy, such as age, sex, and roles, not just social rank  and understand that rewards and sanctions are based on social position.
People from small power distance cultures value equal power distributions, symmetric relations, and rewards and sanctions based on performance. Denmark is an example of a small power distance culture, while Japan embodies a large power distance culture; The United States is considered to be in the middle in regards to power distance.
Drawing on research of Geert Hofstede , face-negotiation theory notes that while individualism and power distance are two separate dimensions, they are correlated. Highly individualistic cultures tend to be low in power distance, and vice versa. Besides the cultural-level collectivism-individualism and power distance, face-negotiation also consists of the individual-level self-construal.
Self-construal is an individual level of construct in face-negotiation theory, and it can be regarded as an additional alternative to understand cross-cultural conflicts,  and it is also closely related to cultural variability.
There are two types of self-construal: independent self-construal and interdependent self-construal. Independent self-construal refers to the great degree to which people regard themselves as an isolated entity, whereas people who are more interdependent self-construal tend to conceive themselves as an integral part in interpersonal relationship.
Face Negotiation Theory
According to Gudykunst,  in individualistic cultures, independent self-construal prevails, while in collectivistic cultures, people are more related to interdependent self-construal. There are four opportunities a mediator has in regards to their concern for self-face, your personal image and other-face, the counterpart's image of themselves that define face movements:.
Ting-Toomey asserts that several conditions must be perceived as severe in order for a negotiator to feel his face is threatened; the importance of the culturally approved facework that is violated, feelings of mistrust because of a large distance between cultures, the importance of the conflict topic, the power distance between the two parties, and the perception of the parties as outgroup members are all conditions which must be made salient for face-threatening communication to occur.
In an individualistic culture, the more self-face threatening the conflict, the more likely the individual will engage in an attack. In a collectivistic culture, where mutual-face concern is important, avoidance of conflict may prevail in order for the situation to be defused.
Collectivistic communicators may also require a third-party negotiation to make progress in finding a resolution. On a broad level, individualistic cultures operate with a more direct, low context facework with importance placed on verbal communication and nonverbal gestures for emphasis. Collectivistic cultures operate in a more indirect, high context facework emphasizing nonverbal subtleties.
There are three prevalent facework strategies: dominating, avoiding, and integrating. Dominating facework is characterized by trying to maintain a credible image with the goal of winning the conflict. Avoiding facework attempts to preserve harmony in the relationship by dealing with the conflict indirectly.
Integrating facework focuses on content resolution and maintaining the relationship.
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Along the face concern-orientation dimension, facework is at play before preventive , during, and after restorative the situation.
Preventive facework is an attempt to minimize face-loss before the threat occurs. Preventive strategies include credentialing, appealing for suspended judgment, pre-disclosure, pre-apology, hedging, and disclaimers. Restorative facework attempts to repair face that was lost.
Restorative strategies include excuses, justifications, direct aggression, humor, physical remediation, passive aggressiveness, avoidance, and apologies.
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Facework differs from conflict styles by employing face-saving strategies which can be used prior to, during, or after a conflict episode and can be used in a variety of identity-threatening and identity-protection situations. These strategies are focused on relational and face identity beyond conflict goal issues.
Conflict styles are specific strategies used to engage or disengage from a conflict situation. Preventive and restorative face-work strategies are typically employed when one's face is being threatened.
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Conflict style consists of learned behaviors developed through socialization within one's culture. Rahim   based his classification of conflict styles into two dimensions.
The first dimension demonstrates the concern for self, how important it is for the individual to maintain their own face or that of their culture this is rated on a high to low continuum and the second is concern for others, how important is it to the individual to help them maintain their own face also rated on a high to low continuum.
The two dimensions are combined to create five styles for dealing with conflict. The individual will choose a style of handling conflict based on the importance of saving their face and that of the face of the other. In Ting-Toomey, Oetzel, and Yee-Jung incorporated three additional conflict communication styles to the original five.
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Other researchers used a different way to group the conflict tactics. Ting-Toomey grouped strategies into three categories of tactics for handling conflict; integrative, distributive and passive-indirect. Integrative conflict tactics incorporated integrating and compromising styles and is reflective of mutual-face and the need for a solution.
Those who chose this tactic work with the other person involved in the conflict to get the best possible solution for both parties. Examples of Integrative tactics may include listening to the other, respecting their feelings, and providing their own personal viewpoints in a manner that assists in the negotiation. Distributive conflict tactics use the dominating style of handling conflict, and emphasizes the individuals own power over the other.
This style reflects self-face. Passive-indirect conflict tactics are consistent with obliging and avoiding styles of handling conflict and reflects other-face.
Face content domains refer to the different topics an individual will engage in facework on. Individuals have different face wants or face needs in a diverse range of communicative situations.
The heart of Face Negotiation Theories are 24 propositions. They are based on the seven assumptions and five taxonomies that have been proven in numerous cases and studies. They describe facework on three levels of communication: cultural, individual, and situational. Cultural-level propositions . Individual-level propositions .
Face Negotiation Theory
Situational-level propositions . Reflecting on the final assumption, intercultural facework competence consists of another component of face-negotiation theory. Facework competence is conceptualized as an optimal integration of knowledge, mindfulness and communication skills in managing self's and other's face-related concerns.
Knowledge here refers to the process of in-depth understanding of phenomenon via a range of information gained through conscious learning and personal experiences. Building block concepts include: 1 individualism-collectivism, 2 power distance. Mindfulness means attending to one's internal assumptions, cognitions and emotions and simultaneously attuning attentively to the other's assumptions, cognitions and emotions while focusing the five senses.
As an intercultural communication theory, face-negotiation theory was first tested in and applied to the field of intercultural training and conflicts. However, researchers from other areas also find this theory applicable and relevant. Recent applications and examinations of the theory include following studies.
One direct application of face-negotiation theory is the design of intercultural conflict training frameworks. Part of the objective of face-negotiation theory, according to Ting-Toomey, is in fact to translate the theory into a viable framework for mindful intercultural conflict training.
More specifically, intercultural conflict training revolves around international business negotiation, intercultural conflict mediation, managing intercultural miscommunication, and developing intercultural conflict competencies. Adapting face-negotiation theory, and also in combination with various communication researches such as Critical Incident, Intergroup Negotiation Simulation etc.
What is Face Negotiation Theory?
Agenda outline, along with in class activities, lecture themes, and exercises, is provided in her design as well. There were people from four different countries who partook in the study. China and Japan representing the collectivist countries and Germany and the United States as the individualist countries. Each contributor was given a survey in which they were to explain interpersonal conflict.