Face threat sensitivity in negotiation: Roadblock to agreement and joint gain

Judith B. White*, Renée Tynan, Adam D. Galinsky, Leigh Thompson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

94 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)102-124
Number of pages23
JournalOrganizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jul 2004


  • Conflict resolution
  • Face
  • Face threat sensitivity
  • Identity
  • Negotiation
  • Politeness theory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management


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