Apologies in Chinese Restaurants' Responses to Negative Online Reviews and Rapport Management-A Cross-cultural Perspective

Qian Yonghong


The present study, drawing upon Spencer-Oatey’s (2008) Rapport Management framework, presents an analysis of restaurants’ apologies to customers in Chinese CMC. 100 responses 

by restaurants to customers’ negative reviews on Dianping.com(a Chinese independent third-party
reviewing website similar to TripAdvisor) have been collected for our study, and the method of Rhetorical
Move Analysis has been used to identify Apologies and accompanying moves in our data. It is revealed
that apologies, along with other accompanying moves such as Thanks, Explanations, Repairs, Openings,
Closings, Invitations etc., serve as remedial responses to restore rapport or harmony. Considering the
public nature of the open online communication, the linguistic domain of apology (including apology
expressions, intensification, repetition, honorifics, endearing addressing terms, pronouns, and selfreferring
expressions) and content of apology (Accepting or not accepting responsibility) are properly
designed and managed by the restaurants’ response writers in order to repair the relationship with the
unsatisfied individual customer on the one hand, while maintaining and protecting the restaurants’
good reputation with the overhearing audience online on the other hand. We also compared our Chinese
online apologies with those in English and Japanese as studied by Morrow & Yamanouchi (2020) in order
to reveal some cross-cultural similarities and differences. The findings are expected to provide some
insights into the area of cross-cultural studies of online apologies, as well as to be valuable to business
professionals who increasingly interact with consumers cross-culturally on the internet.


negative online reviews; response texts; rhetorical moves; rapport management

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.18002/sin.v10i1.6318


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Sinología hispánica. Revisión de estudios de China

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