Stella Ting-Toomey, a researcher at California State University Fullerton, defines face negotiation theory as the cultural differences in response to conflict (Ting-Toomey#4). This theory is employed and used metaphorically for our self-image while in public (Ting-Toomey#4). The foundation of the theory pertains to the specific verbal and non-verbal messages in reference to face work (Ting-Toomey #2). Our identity, in turn, is often second guessed. In many scenarios, the end result is either conflict or chaos. Stella Ting-Toomey's face negotiation theory parallels how different cultures manage conflict differently.
It however is not very complex and may leave a first time reader both dumbfounded and confused. The face is an extension of one's self-concept. The face and how people manage it exists in all cultures (West 447-448). Positive Face, or the desire to be liked, and negative face, the desire to be autonomous make up the two types of face (West 448). This is situated around the politeness level of the individual. The United States is an individualistic society, concerned with individual needs over group needs (West 453).
Japan is a more collectivistic culture, concerned more with group concerns as oppose to individual concerns. Conflict often results when individualistic cultures clash with collectivistic cultures. This is due to the two distinct cultures difference in managing conflict. The five types of conflict management styles are as follows: avoiding, obliging, compromising, dominating, and integrating (West 455-456). The U. S.
often employs the avoiding, obliging, and dominating approaches. This is evident in the ritualistic excuse makers throughout the U. S. These types of individuals are usually concerned with satisfying the needs of themselves. In other words, the majority of U. S.
citizens are concerned only with the saving of their own face. Japan frequently employs the compromising and integrating conflict management strategies. They are more concerned with saving the face of others in addition to their own. The end result is a more collectivistic society.
Ting-Toomey's Face Negotiation Theory is sought at proving that every culture is concerned with the presentation of their face (West 457). It breaks the specific conflict management styles down into two separate cultures. This raises an important question: is Ting-Toomey's Face Negotiation Theory valid? The scenarios below test its validity. Jack, a former Major League baseball player in America, has recently signed a contract with a team in the Japanese professional league. As a former Major League All-Star, Jack has become accustomed to the American style of play.
This being: hard-nosed, aggressive, in your face baseball. After joining his new team in Japan and playing a couple of games as the as the first baseman, his teammates as well as his manager resent his aggressive attitude employed on the baseball diamond. He's constantly arguing and showing up the umpires, disrespecting the middle infielders by taking them out during double plays, chewing robust amounts of tobacco, and refusing to acknowledge his new managers' bunt signal, all typical sights and mannerisms in American ball parks. Jack refuses to change his style of play to better suit the Japanese culture. To make matters worse, he's only reached base safely in two of his first 38 at bats. This is a prolonged slump he never previously had to endure as a Major Leaguer in America.
His antics and inability to hit the baseball fuel a controversy between Jack and his new manager, Coach Uchiama. Uchiama offers to help Jack with his swing during batting practice. He's however too arrogant to accept his new manager's advice. He explains to Uchiama that he "knows how to hit a baseball." Jack's problem is situated around the aspect of fear. For the first time in his professional career, he is afraid.
This is a problem only he is aware of. He has no plans of seeking help for his problems through somebody else. This is a newly discovered problem for him because he's never previously experienced such severe failure. In turn, Jack tries to escape his newly developed problems by attempting to persuade his new manager into not playing him. He begins to unravel an elongated list of excuses: "it's been a hard transition for me. I've got so much pressure on me to perform.
I need some time to relax and rest before I am to play again." This is an example of Jack trying to save his own face. Is he thinking of the team when he is relaying this? This also is an example of Jack employing classic American individualism stemming from a conflict between his performance, new manager, and of course himself. Five different conflict management styles exist in different cultures, known as avoiding, obliging, compromising, dominating, and integrating (West 455-456). In the scenario of Jack, he's attempting to save his face by employing the avoiding style of managing conflict. This means he's staying away from disagreements as well as unpleasant exchanges with others (West 455). This is very evident in American society.
Uchiama quickly responds to Jack. "We pay you to hit. All you " re life you " ve hit. You " re a solid baseball player. The only problem is you " re going through a slump." He further explains to Jack that he will in fact play. "I'm the manager, and I say you play." He then proposes a deal to Jack: "give me two weeks to work with you.
If you " re not hitting by then, I'll grant you you " re outright release and you can return to the states." This is an example of Coach Uchiama employing the compromising style to manage conflict. He does so by using give-and-take strategies designed to achieve a middle-road resolution (Ting-Toomey #3, pp. 284). He's attempting to save his own face in addition to Jack's. This proves that Japan, at times, is more united as a collectivistic society than the United States. Face is a metaphor for the public image people display in public (West 447).
Ting-Toomey, in her relentless efforts, has worked diligently in elaborating the basic definition of face into her theory. In order to discover validity for her theory, she used the United States and Japan as examples. The U. S.
, ranked #1 out of 40 in the individualism / collectivism comparison board (West 453). This proves the majority of Americans are highly concerned with individual concerns. Japan, #22 on the list, is a more collective society that better recognizes united concerns. Face work is defined as the actions taken to deal with face wants of one or the other (West 448). The three types of face work are face work that respects another's autonomy, known as tact face work, accepting another as a member of an in-group, known solidarity face work, in addition to face work that focuses less on the negative aspects and more on the positive, known approbation face work (West 449). In the case of Jack and his manager Uchiama, the coach is applying approbation face work.
Though he's disgusted and intolerable to the ignorance displayed by Jack on the baseball field, he chooses to focus on the more positive aspects of Jack's makeup. This is represented by Uchiama's reinforcement of Jack being a good hitter. He then relays to Jack that he has the abilities to get the job done. He avoided blame while at the same time recognizing the positive aspects of Jack. This raises another valid point; do instances such as this occur only when two cultures clash? The answer to this topic can be discovered in two elaborate stories. Story one, instead of Jack's new manager being Chinese, he's American.
In response to Jack's ignorant attitude, do you think he would have focused more on the positive aspects of Jack? I'll use the coaching style of Coach Dave Schmotzer to answer this question. If a player told Coach Schmotzer that he didn't want to play, Schmotzer would respond with something like: "fine, than don't. I can't do it for you. I you won't play, I'll find somebody else that will." Somebody else would in turn be given a chance to play. Schmotzer's job as a head baseball coach is to win.
If his club doesn't win, it's he that assumes blame. Winning is his job. If he doesn't win, his job could be in jeopardy. In order to keep his job, he must continually save his own face. Saving the face of others becomes a second priority. Coach Schmotzer is not the only coach in America that would respond this way.
The job of every coach in whatever sport in America is to win. Coach is a wonderful person whom I admire and hold the up most respect for. The reason I used him as an example is because of the first-hand, eyewitness accounts I've experienced as one of his players. This proves the American coach would be more concerned with saving his own face.
If Jack wasn't positively contributing to the ball club, in addition to not wanting to play, the manager (i. e. Coach Schmotzer) would probably sit him on the bench. Does this conclude that all baseball managers in America are more concerned with saving their own face? The answer to this question is no.
Boston Red Sox rookie sensation and first round draft pick Mo Vaughn struggled immensely during his early stages of the Major Leagues (1992-93). Instead of giving up on Mo and giving somebody else an opportunity to play, then Coach Butch Hobson refused to give up on his troubled rookie. This in addition to the Red Sox having another losing season (Boston Red Sox internet source). Hobson hired Mike Easier, a private hitting instructor to work with Mo. Before anybody knew it, Mo won an American League Most Valuable Player Award in 1995 (baseball source), and quickly became one of the most respected hitters in all of baseball. By applying an approach featured more prominently in countries such as Japan known as the integrating approach to dealing with conflict, Hobson was able to save Mo's face as well as his own, at least for the time being.
Hobson was fired after the 1994 season (baseball source). The scenarios of Uchiama, Butch Hobson, and Dave Schmotzer illustrate the differences the United States and Japan have in relations to dealing with conflict. The U. S. is a more individualistic society concerned with preserving autonomy and avoiding the loss of face through excuses, known as face restoration (West 451).
This is defined in the U. S.'s # 1 ranking out of 40 in individualism around the world. Based on the evidence of my research, Face Negotiation Theory accurately represents how different cultures manage and incorporate conflict differently. It however may confuse an uneducated reader about the way cultures differentiate all together. After reading the theory over for the first time, a reader may misinterpret the U.
S. as a complete individualistic society. This is untrue, as proven in my example of Mo Vaughn and Butch Hobson. This also is evident in Ting-Toomey's high number of U. S. respondents in favor of the compromising technique while coping with a conflict (West 458).
Face Negotiation Theory is therefore not very complex, and needs top be further elaborated on before it can be considered valid.