Cross‐Cultural Difference in Reactions to Facework During Service Failures

  • Ray Friedman
  • Mara Olekalns
  • Sehyung (David) Oh


When companies have service failures, they need to not only fix the actual problem but also to communicate with customers in ways that do not damage the relationship. This study examines whether people with different cultural orientations react differently to the communications that attack or support community‐related face (positive face) versus autonomy‐related face (negative face). We predicted, and found, that Westerners (Americans) react more strongly than Asians (Koreans and Indians) to autonomy‐related facework. We also predicted, and found, that the emotional impact of community‐related face was stronger for Asians than for Westerners, and that the emotional impact of autonomy‐related face was stronger for Westerners than Asians. Theoretical and practical implications for managing service failures across cultures are discussed.

Keywords: service failures, dispute resolution, culture, face

How to Cite:

Friedman, R. & Olekalns, M. & Oh, S., (2011) “Cross‐Cultural Difference in Reactions to Facework During Service Failures”, Negotiation and Conflict Management Research 4(4), 352-380. doi:

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Published on
17 Oct 2011
Peer Reviewed