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Face Threat Sensitivity in Negotiations: Roadblock to Agreement and Joint Gain, Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes


Negotiation scholars and practitioners have long noted the impact of face, or social image, concerns on negotiation outcomes. When face is threatened, negotiators are less likely to reach agreement and to create joint gain. In this paper, we explore individual differences in face threat sensitivity (FTS), and how a negotiator's role moderates the relationship of his or her FTS to negotiation outcomes. Study 1 describes a measure of FTS. Study 2 finds that buyers and sellers are less likely to reach an agreement that is in both parties' interests when the seller has high FTS. Study 3 finds that job candidates and recruiters negotiate an employment contract with less joint gain when the candidate has high FTS, and that this relationship is mediated by increased competitiveness on the part of the high FTS candidates. The results support Deutsch's (1961) application of face theory ( Goffman, 1967) to negotiation.




Judith B. White, Renee Tynan, Leigh Thompson, Adam Galinsky

Date Published



White, Judith B., Renee Tynan, Leigh Thompson, and Adam Galinsky. 2004. Face Threat Sensitivity in Negotiations: Roadblock to Agreement and Joint Gain. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes.(2): 102-124.


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