Revisiting Facework with a new analysis instrument Face strategies and face negotiation in intercultural communication

Mai Nguyen-Phuong-Mai (1) , Cees Terlouw (2) , Albert Pilot (3)
(1) Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences, Saxion University, Utrecht University , Netherlands
(2) Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences, Saxion University, Utrecht University , Netherlands
(3) Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences, Saxion University, Utrecht University , Netherlands


This paper introduces the Analysis Framework of Face Interaction (AFFI) which is developed based on a new face dimension termed Face Confirmation − Face Confrontation at two levels: Individual level within the group and Collective level between groups. This proposed framework of face analysis reveals a dearth of research on face confrontation as essential communication strategies. It also points out how the mainstream research on facework has been limited on the collective level of analysis. The authors argue that using AFFI will help researchers reduce cultural over-generalisation; enable them to involve more specific cultural, contextual and situational characteristics of each face case to analyse face negotiation from a more holistic perspective.

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Mai Nguyen-Phuong-Mai (Primary Contact)
Cees Terlouw
Albert Pilot
Author Biographies

Mai Nguyen-Phuong-Mai, Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences, Saxion University, Utrecht University

Nguyen-Phuong-Mai started her career as a journalist in Vietnam. She holds a PhD in Intercultural Communication from Utrecht University and currently teaches Cross-Cultural Management at Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences, The Netherlands. She has lived, worked, and visited more than 100 countries, and she continues to publish frequently as a freelance writer. Her most recent research interests include Middle East studies after conducting a 9 month field trip through the Middle East, tracing the expansion of Islam from where it began, city by city, westwards to Africa and eastwards to Asia. The result of this trip will be her up-and-coming book “Alone, Asian, and Atheist in the Middle East”. More of her writing and direct contact at

Cees Terlouw, Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences, Saxion University, Utrecht University

Cees Terlouw is the director of ELAN educational institute at Twente University, the Netherlands. His research interest includes multicultural education, problem solving, instructional design, curriculum and ICT development. He is an experienced consultant in cultural diversity.

Albert Pilot, Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences, Saxion University, Utrecht University

Albert Pilot is the professor emeritus at Utrecht University, the Netherlands. His research interest includes pedagogy, teacher education and multicultural education.

Nguyen-Phuong-Mai, M., Terlouw, C., & Pilot, A. (2014). Revisiting Facework with a new analysis instrument Face strategies and face negotiation in intercultural communication. Journal of Intercultural Communication, 14(3), 1–15.

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