In the face-negotiation theory, people of different cultures are assumed much concerned in presenting their own faces. This theory infuses controversy in its frame work in attempts to outline why peoples from different cultures manage conflicts in various ways. According to Ting-Toomey, there are cultural values which exist while dealing with conflict, which are influenced by the face requirements and concerns of the communicators.
The theory has attracted much interest among the intercultural scholars who have gone miles ahead to study the key features of the theory. The interfacing conflict of Ting-Toomey has influenced intercultural researchers to carry out study on the difference between the Americans and the Japanese. As a result, Ringo Ma 1992, investigated the face maintenance of mediators in conflict situations, while Mark Cole (1989), researched on the threats of face and self-face in public, formal and non-intimate settings. The influence of face and face-work has as well been studied and analyzed in Germany, Chinese, American and Japanese cultures. The theory is heuristic in the manner in which is presented. Through effective intersecting face, conflict and culture, the scope and the boundaries of the theory are made clear.
There are several concerns about the face-negotiation theory. For examples, the theory is based on various perceptions and experiences of collectivist and individualistic cultures. Ting-Toomey has entire based the core of the face-negotiation theory on these experiences and perceptions. However, at times, these cultural dimensions may not explain the cultural conflicts fully. For example, in her on own study, Ting-Toomey together with her colleagues (1991) identified several discrepancies to the theory. Further, though Ting-Toomey proposed that individualistic cultures did not play significant role in conflict situations, individualistic American respondents have depicted high compromising degree in conflict situations.
Ting-Toomey (1988), positioned the theory within the Levinson and Brown perspective of politeness. She included various components such as negative face and positive face. Although other researchers such as Baratz and Tracy claimed that the framework of Levinson and Brown might have been too general, it is fact that face-concern is the most significant aspect in communication. This implies that, there are other factors concerning face issues which are yet to be identified by researchers. If this so, then the application and endorsement of politeness in Face-Negotiation Theory is questionable. However, the most interesting thing is that, most researchers acknowledge the fact that Levinson and Brown presented an original framework which can be utilized to highlight various challenges associated with the theory. Therefore, as long as cultural practices continue, face-negotiation theory will remain a focal point in communication.