Reputational management, basically; but to take it sociologically, here is the abstract of a 1998 article
Spiers, J. 1998. The Use of Face Work and Politeness Theory.
Qualitative Health Research, Vol. 8 no. 1 25-47
Communication is central to nursing care. There is no framework to link communication theory to actual nursing interactions. Face work refers to ways people cooperatively attempt to promote both the other’s and one’s own sense of self-esteem, autonomy, and solidarity in conversation. Face work theory provides a means of understanding the context of interaction and the ways in which a nurse and client choose speech patterns based on perceptions offace needs,face threats, and contextualfeatures of power, culture, and social distance. Models of face work as politeness, forms of address, and embarrassment are presented to illuminate how communication is mutually negotiated and how verbal strategies respond to the instrumental demands of the situation as well as the interpersonal needs of both participants. Nurses are often effective in practice due to their intuitive understanding offace work, but this is not explicitly recognized in current research and education.