Face and Facework: A Cross-Cultural Comparison of Managing Politeness Norms in U.S. and Korea

Wonsun Kim, Xiaowen Guan, Hee Sun Park


This study compared U.S. Americans’ (n = 222) and Koreans’ (n = 202) perceptions of and management strategies towards potentially impolite situations. The results showed that cultural norms significantly determine the perception of the situation and Koreans are more likely to resort to confrontation across situations than did U.S. Americans. Additionally, individual face needs, situational factors and culture as well as the interactions were important predictors of individuals’ management strategies in potentially impolite situations. Practical implications for intercultural communication were discussed.

Full Text: