Impression Management

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Description of Impression Management. Explanation.


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Impression Management

Definition Impression Management. Description.

Impression Management is a technique of self-presentation based on controlling the perceptions of other people by rapidly expressing favorable aspects of yourself or team. It is a goal-directed conscious or unconscious attempt to influence the perceptions of other people about you (or a team, an object or event) by regulating and controlling information in social interaction.

The method of Impression Management has been developed by Ervin Goffman in his 1959 book ďThe Presentation of Self in Everyday LifeĒ.

The author argues that as most social interaction requires immediate judgments, any individual introducing her/himself must focus on quickly providing a positive first impression by highlighting positive facets.

In Goffman's perspective Impression Management has much to do with a drama (a play): the actor, shaped by the environment and target audience, sees interaction as a performance. The objective of the performance is to provide the audience with an impression consistent with the desired goals of the actor. Goffman famously wrote in his book: "All the world is not, of course, a stage, but the crucial ways in which it isn't are not easy to specify."

Comparable to the Johari Window, Goffman distinguishes two different territories of our social behavior:

  1. Frontstage: The set of actions individuals perform according to their fixed function in the society. It allows individuals to show their formal and public profile to those who observe the performance.
  2. Backstage: The set of actions individuals perform "behind the scenes". An informal more relaxed and private zone of each individual. In this territory people donít want or expect to be judged regarding their fixed function in the society. Backstage we are simultaneously safer and more vulnerable: It is here we change our mental, physical and moral "underwear". Backstage is thus a space for rest and "letting down one's guard", but also a space where one prepares oneself for frontstage performances.

Goffman believes that all our roles depend on the back region of an individual. And all front region roles can be sustained by keeping the audience out of the back region.

His concept is suitable for both individuals (E.g. Charismatic Leadership) and teams. Consider the example of a hotel. The front stage conduct of the team of receptionists has to be formal and aligned with defined rules, service standards and rituals. The same team, behind the scenes, can gather with a different purpose and relax.

In general, impression management theory holds that any individual or organization must establish and maintain impressions that are congruent with the perceptions they want to convey to their public. The idea that perception is reality is the basis for this sociological and social psychology theory, which is framed around the presumption that the otherís perceptions of you or your organization become the reality from which they form ideas and the basis for intended behaviors.

Typical Impression Management Tactics

  • Behavioral Matching: The target of perception matches his/her behavior to that of the perceiver. Example: An employee tries to imitate his managerís behavior by being modest and soft-spoken because his manager is modest and soft-spoken.
  • Self-Promotion: The target tries to present her/himself in as positive a light as possible. Example: An employee reminds his manager about his past accomplishments and associates with co-workers who are evaluated highly.
  • Conforming to Situational Norms: The target follows agreed-upon rules for behavior in the organization. Example: An employee stays late every night even if he has completed all of his assignments because staying late is one of the norms of his organization.
  • Appreciating or Flattering Others: The target compliments the perceiver. This tactic works best when flattery is not extreme and when it involves a dimension important to the perceiver. Example: An employee compliments his manager on her excellent handling of a troublesome employee.
  • Being Consistent: The targetís beliefs and behaviors are consistent. There is agreement between the targetís verbal and nonverbal behaviors. Example: An employee deliveres a message to his manager and looks him straight in the eye and has a sincere expression on his face.

Impression management plays an important role in Advertising and Public Relations. Beyond that, the significance of impression management is that it distorts empirical research methods such as Benchmarking and SERVQUAL and also it influences group processes such as Team Development and Brainstorming.

Impression Management Forum
  Should You Be Yourself or Wear a Mask in an Organization?
According to the video "All the World is a Stage (Shakespeare)" in relation to impression management, my question is:
In an organization, what is more important: to be "one true self " or to put on "series of masks" when dealing with various mem...
  Quotes on Impression Management. Quotations
Hi, do you know of a remarkable, humorous quote by a famous person or a proverb related to the impressions people or organizations are trying to give to other people or the public and/or impression management?
Please enter a reaction to share it ...

Impression Management Special Interest Group

Special Interest Group


Best Practices - Impression Management Premium
  5 Communication Factors for Making a Good Impression
Communication is key to effective leadership. It is important to create good impressions when you are communicating. The following five factors are essential in the creation of good impressions during communications:

Expert Tips - Impression Management Premium

Resources - Impression Management Premium

Communication Essentials: Non-verbal, Verbal and Listening Skills

Presentation about communication skills, including non-verbal and verbal communication and listening skills. The presentation has many examples and a ...
Usage (application): Communication Skills, Personal Skills, Confidence, Power, Influence, Sincerity, Trust

Introduction to Impression Management

Presentation about Impression Management (IM), including the following sections:
1. Towards a Definition
2. IM Techniques / Verbal Self-pres...
Usage (application): Impression Management

All the World is a Stage (Shakespeare)

Explanation of the main ideas of sociologist Erving Goffman regarding Impression Management.

Shakespeare wrote: "All the world is a stag...
Usage (application): Impression Management, Communication

Impression Management, Perception and Attribution Theory

Presentation about impression management and person perception, including the following sections:
1. Overview
2. Strategic Self Presentation...
Usage (application): Impression Management, Self

3 Communication Forms and Their Relevance

Good communication skills are a key asset for success in business and life. Face to face communication can take place in three main forms: Verbally, V...
Usage (application): Communication, Body Language


Impression Management


Impression Management


Impression Management


Impression Management

Compare with: Johari Window  |  Congruity Theory  |  Balance Theory  |  Attribution Theory  |  Emotional Intelligence  |  Relational Creativity  |  Whole Brain Model / Communicator  |  Mentoring  |  Coaching

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