Cross-cultural testing of face threats to predict apology and thanks intentions

Hye Eun Lee1, Hyunjin Park2
1School of Communication and Media, Ewha Womans University, Republic of Korea
2School of Electronic and Electrical Engineering, Sungkyunkwan University, Republic of Korea
Cite this article:  Lee, H. E., & Park, H. (2017). Cross-cultural testing of face threats to predict apology and thanks intentions. Social Behavior and Personality: An international journal, 45(10), 1643-1654.

Volume 45 Issue 10 | e6468 | Published: November 2017 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.2224/sbp.6468

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We examined whether Koreans intended to make an apology and North Americans intended to express thanks in a message asking for a favor. Because one reason for apologizing or thanking is to lessen the face threat occurred by favor asking, four face threats were empirically measured to predict participants’ intentions. Participants were 104 North American and 90 Korean college students who took the role of an email sender making a favor request and selected from options for apologizing or thanking the receiver to lessen the four types of face threat. Results showed that North Americans intended to express thanks, and both North Americans and Koreans intended to make an apology when asking a favor; further, for Koreans, a speaker’s positive face threat triggered intention to make an apology and, for North Americans, a receiver’s negative face threat triggered an intention to express thanks. Implications and future research directions are discussed.

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