Social-Cognitive and Situational Influences on the Use of Face-Saving Persuasive Strategies



This study investigated the influences of three situational variables and interpersonal construct differentiation on the use of face-saving strategies. Speakers carried out role-play persuasive tasks that were varied on the dimensions of speaker power, request magnitude, and familiarity. The resulting messages were coded for the dominant levels of autonomy granting and positive face support provided to the target. Speakers provided more face support when they had relatively little power. Furthermore, this effect was stronger for positive face support than for autonomy granting. Speakers also granted more autonomy when making large requests, especially when they had relatively little power. With respect to familiarity, speakers provided less face support to familiar targets when small requests were involved but provided more face support when making large requests. The study also found several interactions between construct differentiation and the situational factors. The theoretical implications of these findings are discussed.