Impression Management as a Goal Directed Activity
Impression ManagementAssignment question: “Impression Management as a goal directed activity not only sets the boundaries of what is considered appropriate behaviour but also aids in defining what behaviour will be met with disapproval.”(Goffman 1989) Discuss this statement in the context of a practical professional setting.According to Andersen, M.
L. , & Taylor, H. L. (2006)impression management is defined as “good oriented conscious or unconsciousprocess in which people attempt to influence the perceptions of other people about a person, object or event, they do so by regulating and controlling information in social interaction. According to Sinha (2009), “Impression management is an active self-presentation of a person aiming to enhance his image in the eyes of others” (p. 104). A symbolic interaction noting that impression management is “the process of authentic self-presentation used when an individual wants to present himself to other people the same way he perceives himself…a tactical brand used by individuals. ” A variation of this view by Brym and Lie, (2006, p. 44) depicts impression management as a situation whereby “people deliberately change or modify their behaviour to fit a given situation…the process whereby people seek to control the image that others have of them. ” The above scholarly views seek to consolidate Goffman’s (1989) view that “Impression Management as a goal directed activity not only sets the boundaries of what is considered appropriate behaviour but also aids in defining what behaviour will be met with disapproval. ” In assessing the concept of impression management it is pivotal to isolate the impetus behindthisconcept.
All the above definitions provide a direct inference that this concept involves creating an impressionable illusion which is highly fragile and requires constant attention in order to ensure its sustainability. Keeping in mind that it is a goal oriented model, impression management is a fundamental and universal process that involves a number of influential factors. These factors are social, cultural and spiritual. Considering that this model is set in a professionalenvironment, it is essential to administer an appropriate outlook into impression management in professional localities.
Newman, (2009, p. 173) states that “Impression management allows the production of manufactured personas, which aid in the socialization process. The use of impression management provides people with the necessary skills to create a custom and often falsified perception. ”, this may be well suited to the professional environment and its various facets such as job interviews, officerelations between employees and management, firms and both clients and potential clients, firms and other firms as well with the ultimate goal being to create a virtuous professional atmosphere.
It is paramount to note that the microcosm represents the macrocosm, in relation to impression management it is hence necessary to carry out a thorough analysis of individualistic measures of impression management before relating this to an entire professional setting. According to Andersen and Taylor (2006), “Impression management can be seen as a type of con game” (p. 04), relating to the basic scenario of a job interview when a person engages in impression management, they are attempting to manipulate the impression they project onto others, with the goal being to ultimately acquire a job and will do so through the following means of impression management: •Good eye contact in order to establish an aura of confidence and honesty critical to the business sector •An appropriate physical appearance, aclean, professional persona •Chronematic management, being prompt is tantamount to a gesture of a focused individual •Kinesis should be reflective of confidence and a potentially aggressive stature appropriately suited to the aggressive nature of the business world In essence, the above seeks to highlight the paramount idea that the person being perceived manages the perception of the perceiver hoping to have a positive impact which in this case is delivering a sublime job interview with prospects of acquiring a particular job position. This approach helps a person carefully craft relationships and by extension they have the ability to alter their position in the socialization process through impression management, especially if now expanding the concept impression management into the actual working environment in an analysis of relationships between an individual whether as a subordinate or a manager.
When in the position of relative power such as management, active impression management is supreme, an individual is under the constant debilitating gaze of oftentimes opportunistic employees or subordinates on the prowl for error. Hence individuals in management should leave no room for error in their impression management “A person’s relative position in society can also influence impression management” (Newman, 2009, p. 172). A person’s posit ion in society and the prestige of impression management are congruent. Managers should exercise extreme decorum, bepunctual, have astute command of a professional ethic of honesty and transparency and above all a professional outlook on their physical presentation. Illustration of how people attempt to control how others perceive them is portrayed through the clothing they wear.
A person who is in a leadership position strives to be respected and in order to control and maintain the impression; the person wears a nice suit, carries a briefcase, and acts in a professional manner. The professional clothing and the dignified manner in which the person carries him or herself, plays a large role in the impression management process. The goal behind such a constrictive and extremely rule bound outlook of impression management is so as to create an impression to the subordinates, however not one of fear but of a respectable individual employees are willing to be loyal and ultimately submissive to without any urge of dissent hence having a positive influence on a firm’s productivity and profits due to Herzberg’s motivational factors being fulfilled by management.
Another relationship worth analysis is that of impression management between work colleagues, an individual should establish a solid impression amongst colleagues and management, Newman (2009) expands on this notion, “Impression management is a tool most of us use to present ourselves as likable people” (p. 183). with the impetus being that of creating a virtuous working environment free of tension which makes work more enjoyable for an individual.Ultimately the central lynchpin being that of managing an approachable, responsible, amicable, ‘gossip- free’ impression of oneself. This is advantageous in climbing the corporate ladder for situations whereby an individual is considered for a job promotion from being a lower grade employee to a higher grade, on basis of a character evaluation and impressions regarding that particular individual.
If a general view is that of a rude, irresponsible, tension enabling individual, then this view would be to the detriment of an individual as such a negative inclination is almost impossible to remove. Most vital towards maintaining the survival of a business is a solid relationship established between the client and the business through its management and entire workforce, this also affects the resultant impression cast upon potential clients who may be considering working with a particular business, Ferrante (2008) expands on this concept in her book, Sociology: a Global Perspective, “Even if people are aware that they are manipulating reality, impression management can be a constructive feature of social interaction” (p. 131). People across the globe implement this concept in order to obtain a favourable social outcome.
Standardising this opinion in relation to a professional setting, a business needs to portray an impression heavy consolidated with a strong sense of reliability, transparency and good customer relations. A prime example would be that of Econet Wireless Company, already with a well-established impression as the leading, most reliable telecommunications service provider, it is vital to be consistent with such an impression. This is most evident in their customer relations which are friendly and extremely efficient; a dedication to fulfilling a corporate social responsibility through their Econet Scholarship Programme is reflective of an approachable and selfless impression which they constantly subscribe to.
Hence an analysis of Econet’s impression management leaves us to conclude that although not completely a perfect impression due to unavoidable disruptions in network, Econet has a dominantly impeccable impression which invokes consumer loyalty and an exponential growth in terms on both customers and sales revenue and hence makes it easier to compare against other firms regarded as having a somewhat weaker, deficient impression such as Net One. There are a variety of social implications within impression management, but not all of the social implications are positive. Some of the repercussions are negative and can even be damaging to the person responsible for the implementation of impression management tactics. According to Newman (2009), “Impression management can lead to the creation of damaged identities, which must be repaired in order to sustain social interactions” (p. 183). Damaged identities and suffering social interactions can take a toll on a person, which enviably forces that person to retreat to impression management once again.
Forexample, if a Muslim woman, who is dictated by religion to wear the traditional full body gear exposing only the eyes(termed the ‘Burka’) is placed in a banking professional environment such as that of Standard Chartered Bank,due to severe stereotyping it would serve uncomfortable for not only the individual, but the colleagues as well the customers and potential customers to conduct banking or business related transactions without invoking a degree of suspicion towards such a woman or a feeling of pity towards an inferred and assumed segregation of Muslim women. It may seem increasingly ironic that the tactic that aided in the damaging and exiling of a person can be the very approach that puts that person back in the social standings. Impression management is a concept to be taken very seriously. It has the power and influence to create a favourable public opinion of a particular person, it can break a person in regards to social standings, and it can repair a damaged persona.
Additionally, impression management has the ability to dictate a person’s position in society, as commonly prescribed that a good impression management becomes tantamount to solid business relationships which serve to the advantage of an individual or a firm alike. Conclusion Impression management is a self-presentation technique that focuses on improving a person’s image in the eyes of others. Ever since Erving Goffman implemented the term impression management in 1959, sociologists and theorists have been studying additional aspects of the concept. Impression management presents constructive and favourable images to the public, encouraging a positive outcome. Impression management is a common underlying process that involves social and cultural implications.
In regard to the social implications, impression management allows people to carefully craft and construct their public perception. In some cases, in order to obtain a favourable public or social appearance, a person must alter and falsify their persona. The social implications of impression management are not always negative, but there is a fine line between the positive and negative aspects. Impression management in relation to culture has a far more positive outcome. The cultural implications of impression management define the significance of cultural traditions, norms, and ways of life. The clothing people choose to wear, the words they choose to utilise are all apart of the impression management process.
It would be highly advantageous to implement means by which to improve on or further establish impression management through following the appropriate rules of etiquette in relation to the professional environment such as desisting from the use of cell phones during board meetings as it is disrespectful and conceited and above all a consistentupgrade and maintenance of one’s impression or otherwise social facade. References Andersen, M. L. , & Taylor, H. L. (2006). Sociology: The essentials. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Publishing Brym, R. S. , & Lie, J. (2006). Sociology: Your compass for a new world. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Publishing. Ferrante, J. (2008). Sociology: A global perspective. Belmont, CA: Thomas Higher Education. Giddens, A. (2005). Sociology. Cambridge, UR, UK: Polity Press. Newman, D. M. (2009). Sociology: Exploring the architecture of everyday life. Thousand Oaks, CA: Pine Forge Press. Sinha, J. B. (2009). Culture and organization national behaviour. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.