There is so much behind this theory. You are
going to hate it. I’ll make it brief and to the
 Face negotiation theory deals with Face, and
maintaining your face.
 Face is a metaphor for the public image people display
to others. Face can be applied both ways.
 Ting-Toomey developed this theory to explain how
different cultures communicate.
 There is also another researcher, Erving Goffman, who
is credited with situating face in contemporary western
 Ting observes face pertains to favorable self-worth or
projected self-worth on the interpersonal scale. Face is
a metaphor for the boundaries that people set with
their relationship to others
 However, Goffman believes it is more applicable to
apply face negotiation theory to social groups.
Overtime face is now being applied to things such as
close relationships and small groups.
 Basically to sum it up, face is important for presenting
yourself to another individual. You can also read their
face as well.
 Face can be maintained, lost, or strengthened. Face is
constantly changing! It is shared and managed across
cultures, and is present in all cultures. Not a single
culture theory!
 Main interpretations:
Face Concern – interest in maintaining one’s face or face of others
Face Need – desire to be associated or disassociated with others
Positive face – desire to be liked and admired by others.
Negative face – desire to be autonomous and free from others.
Face-saving – Efforts to avoid embarrassment o vulnerability
Face-restoration – Strategy used to preserve autonomy and avoid
loss of face.
Individualism – A cultural value that places emphasis on the
individual over the group.
Collectivism – a cultural value that places emphasis on the group
over the individual.
 Main interpretations - Facework
Facework – Actions used to deal with face needs/wants of self and
others. How people make whatever their doing consistent with their
Tact Facework – Extent to which a person respects other’s face.
Solidarity Facework – Accepting another as a member of an in-group.
Approbation Facework – Focusing less on the negative aspects and
more on the positive aspects of another.
 Example of face in action:
 You may ask someone in your class to borrow notes. Instead of
asking blatantly straight out to use them, you soften up your speech
and change your tone to appear more sincere and professional. You
may say you will quickly return them after Xeroxing. You must
maintain your face with them, and you perceive them as someone
that would respond to that face respectfully.
 Assumptions of Face Negotiation
 Self-identity is important in interpersonal interactions,
with individuals negotiating their identities differently
across cultures.
 The management of conflict is mediated by face and
 Certain acts threatens one projected face.
This theory is EMPIRICAL.
It focuses on Cause and Effect of the face, not the
It wants to figure out the relationship of faces, and how
they will react to certain faces.
The research lacks any sort of values.
In order to find out how faces act, you will use quantitative
research (surveys, for example)