Sticks and stones: Language, face, and online dispute resolution

Jeanne M. Brett*, Mara Olekalns, Ray Friedman, Nathan Goates, Cameron Anderson, Gara Cherry Lisco

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

140 Scopus citations


Hypotheses derived from face theory predict that the words people use in online dispute resolution affect the likelihood of settlement. In an event history model, text data from 386 disputes between eBay buyers and sellers indicated a higher likelihood of settlement when face was affirmed by provision of a causal account and a lower likelihood of settlement when face was attacked by expression of negative emotions or making commands. These aspects of language and emotion accounted for settlement likelihood even when we controlled for structural aspects of disputes, such as negative feedback filings and the filer's role as buyer or seller.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)85-99
Number of pages15
JournalAcademy of Management Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • General Business, Management and Accounting
  • Strategy and Management
  • Management of Technology and Innovation


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