The faces at play in performance appraisals: With a focus upon a UK retail organization

Dawn Archer 1  and Phil Willcox 2
  • 1 Department of Languages, Information and Communications, Manchester Metropolitan University, Geoffrey Manton Building, Manchester, United Kingdom
  • 2 Emotion at work, Lincoln, United Kingdom
Dawn Archer
  • Corresponding author
  • Department of Languages, Information and Communications, Manchester Metropolitan University, Manchester, Geoffrey Manton Building, Rosamond Street West, Off Oxford Road, United Kingdom
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and Phil Willcox


A variety of face types can be in operation in workplaces, dependent on, for example, the kind of workplace, the various activities engaged in in that workplace, the status/role/gender of participants working in and/or connected with the workplace, etc. This paper offers an adapted version of Archer’s (2015) Facework Scale as a means of accounting for the different types of face in evidence in one activity - Performance Appraisals - in one workplace, relating to a UK retail organization. We will show that interlocutors used facework strategies that emphasized different or multiple facets of face on both a professional and personal level (Jagodziński 2013). This includes attempting to safeguard/support their working relationships (Haugh 2013) by managing impressions of self and/or the company (Jones and Pitman 1982) at the same time as maintaining credibility for self and/or other(s) (Bolino et al. 2016). We use our findings to argue that employers and their employees would benefit from having an understanding of face(work), and briefly discuss the training implications for Performance Appraisals if face(work) notions were introduced.

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The Journal of Politeness Research broadens and sharpens the understanding of the nature of politeness by providing a much-needed forum for synergies to develop between researchers approaching politeness from different disciplinary angles. The journal also strengthens and widens the existing cross-cultural and intercultural body of politeness research by encouraging new contributions from lesser-studied cultures and languages.