Thursday, June 7, 2012

Impression Management - Self directed and other directedd...

In the last blog, we looked at Pygmalion and Galatea effect and understood what role they play in an organization. In today's blog we talk about impression and its management.

We pretty often come across people throwing names of "big" and "famous" personalities, and their interaction with these people. Invariably every time you meet them - you listen to similar stories. If we think about why one would make such references to people we would almost instantaneously recognize that, through such actions these people attempt to control impression others have of them. Such a process by which individuals try to control the impression others have of them is called "impression management".

In the above case, we also see that individual who attempts to enhance impression of himself/herself by "Name-dropping". Such a mechanism is called self-enhancing. It is the same self-enhancing which gets one who is attending interviews to dress up carefully. Self-description pitch too could be drafted well to serve the purpose.

Another common technique that people use is that of "other-enhancing". In this technique - the focus is on the individual one is trying to impress rather than on self. Flattery is a common example of this technique.

If one is to ask, if these impression management techniques are affective here are some researched facts:
  1. Candidates who engaged with impression management were found to have obtained site visits with potential employers and were more likely to be hired.
  2. Employees who engage in impression management are seen more favorably during performance appraisal.
Having said the above, it is also important for one to realize that even this has a limit - the process if beneficial to organization if this impressions conveyed are accurate. If one engages in excessive impression management - he/she would be perceived as someone who is manipulative and insincere.

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