Target’s face loss, motivations, and forgiveness following relational transgression : comparing Chinese and US cultures

Ka Ying, Victoria HUI, Chinese University of Hong Kong
Michael Harris BOND, Chinese University of Hong Kong

Copyright © 2009 Sage Publications Ltd

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We proposed that, following a transgression, as a victim's perceived face loss increased, the victim would show (i) less forgiveness towards the perpetrator; (ii) increased motivation to retaliate; and (iii) reduced desire to maintain the damaged relationship. Moreover, an interdependent self-construal was hypothesized to strengthen these associations. Results from Hong Kong Chinese and American university students revealed that greater face loss directly reduced forgiveness. For Hong Kong Chinese, face loss also indirectly lowered forgiveness through retaliatory and relationship maintenance motivations. Self-construals, however, did not account for such cultural-specific findings. Discussion focused on how attributions for the face loss cross-culturally shaped the offended party's response to relational transgression.