The Different Aspects of Impression Management
Nowadays the process of management is considered to be one of the most important and perspective, that is why the issue of its efficiency and productivity is still relevant. In other words, the quality of management depends on many factors, such as organizational, interpersonal, work environment and others. One of the most important aspects in the field of management is undoubtedly impression management. The concept of impression management was firstly introduced by James McGregor Burns in his theory of transformational leadership and has since been developed by other scholars in different ways. The main purpose of this paper is to explore the concept of impression management in more detail and to identify its different aspects.
2. What is impression management?
Impression management can be defined as a deliberate attempt to control how others perceive us (Collins English Dictionary, 2008). We use different strategies and tactics to create or change other people’s impressions about us in order to achieve our goals. Thus, impression management can be seen as a way of getting what we want from others by manipulating their perceptions. We use impression management strategies both in our personal lives and at work in order to get what we want from others. For example, we may dress a certain way or act in a certain way in order to create a good impression on someone we want to impress (such as a potential employer). Alternatively, we may try to downplay our negative qualities in order to make a good impression (such as when we are meeting someone for the first time).
3. Theories of impression management
As mentioned above, the concept of impression management was first introduced by James McGregor Burns in his theory of transformational leadership. Burns’ theory suggests that there are two types of leader- follower relationship: transactional and transformational. In a transactional relationship, the leader uses rewards and punishments to motivate followers (such as financial incentives or threats of dismissal). In contrast, in a transformational relationship, the leader motivates followers by appealing to their higher ideals and aspirations (such as by providing a vision for the future or encouraging them to develop their skills and abilities). Transformational leaders use different tactics to manage impressions, such as inspirational appeals, individualized consideration and intellectual stimulation.
However, it should be noted that not all scholars agree with Burns’ theory of impression management. For example, some scholars argue thattransformational leadership is ineffective in military settings because it relies on cooperation rather than coercion (Hannah et al., 2006). Similarly, other scholars have criticized Burns’ technique of using inspirational appeals to motivate followers, arguing that it is not always effective (Fisher & Fisher, 1992). Nevertheless, despite these criticisms, Burns’ theory of impression management remains one of the most widely-cited theories in the field of management.
4. Aspects of impression management
Impression management can be divided into three main categories: interpersonal, organizational and individual. These categories are described in more detail below:
4. 1 Interpersonal
Interpersonal impression management refers to the strategies and tactics we use to manage impressions in our personal relationships (such as with our friends or family members). We use different strategies depending on the type of relationship we have with someone. For example, we may try to be extra nice to someone we want to impress (such as a potential employer) or we may avoid talking about certain topics (such as our ex) in order to avoid creating a negative impression.
4. 2 Organizational
Organizational impression management refers to the strategies and tactics we use to manage impressions in our professional lives (such as at work or in school). We use different strategies depending on the type of organization we are in and the people we want to impress. For example, we may dress a certain way or act a certain way in order to create a good impression on our boss or colleagues. Alternatively, we may try to downplay our negative qualities in order to make a good impression on potential clients or customers.
4. 3 Individual
Individual impression management refers to the strategies and tactics we use to manage impressions of ourselves (such as our physical appearance or our personal brand). We use different strategies depending on the type of impression we want to create. For example, we may Dress to look our best or try to project a positive image on social media. Alternatively, we may try to hide our negative qualities (such as by not talking about our flaws) in order to create a good impression of ourselves.
In conclusion, it is clear that impression management is a complex and multi-faceted concept. It can be used in different ways depending on the situation and the type of relationship we have with someone. However, it is important to remember that impression management is not always a bad thing. In many cases, it can be used in a positive way to achieve our goals. For example, if we are trying to get a job, we may use impression management strategies to make a good impression on potential employers. However, it is important to be aware of the different aspects of impression management so that we can use it in a way that is ethically acceptable and beneficial for all parties involved.