Temple University Impression Management and Self Promotion Questions Read the Gardner article. Then answer the following questionsGive 3 general insights y

Temple University Impression Management and Self Promotion Questions Read the Gardner article. Then answer the following questionsGive 3 general insights you received from reading this article, 2. We cannot help but make an impression on others, give 3 types of impression management (IM) have you observed at work (or in classes)?, 3. What can you do as a manager to avoid being manipulated by employees and/or peer who use IM strategies, be specific, give examples?, 4. Beyond a strong performance appraisal system, what specific things can an organization do to help managers avoid being manipulated by IM strategies? 5. Is there a cost or downside to the IM strategy of “exemplification” as described by Gardner? 6. Should this article be used again, why or why not? Please note that #3 & 4 are “stretch” questions, not directly found in article, but I want you to use course and your other HRM-related knowledge to answer. You can have up to 3 pages for this assignment. Today’s managers need to be skilled in the “stagecraft” of organizational life—to act
their own roles effectively, and to be discerning reviewers of the other performers.
Lessons in Organizational Dramaturgy:
The Art of Impression
/ / ‘ / ‘ ou can’t judge a book by its cover” is
X. olrie of the most enduring maxims of
our time^ Mthough this may be sound advice
in many!settings, it takes on special significance in I the workplace. Here, as everyone
knows, pjeople are frequently judged by their
“covers”-|—sometimes to their benefit, at other
times to their detriment. As cultural diversity
becomes I an increasingly common fact of everyday vvforklife, the risks of placing an individual atj disadvantage through an inappropriate judgment are well publicized. The new
workforce simply must stand above the negative inflifience of unfortunate stereotypes
based oii ethnic background, race, gender,
age, and Other personal “externalities.”
But What about the flip side of this coin?
Is there ^ny positive side to the human tendency to (judge others by their covers? And,
if so, whst do we need to know to use this
phenomenon to best advantage in the workplace?
All the world’s a stage.
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances,,
And one man in his time plays many parts.
—William Shakespeari
Perhaps the answer to these questions cah be
found in Shakespeare’s concept of the wiorld
stage. Shakespeare recognized that our lives
are analogous to a drama—complete witH the
actors, audience, props, stage, and scriptib for
each performance, plus the reviews that| follow. For us, the stage of interest comprises the
many settings encountered in day-to-dajj’ Organizational life. The players are the njianagers and other persons who give life to tlfidse
Consider the typical employment interview. For both interviewer and interviewee!, a
major concem is to make a good impreskion
The dfithor is indebted to Marilyn M. Gardner and John R. Schermerhorn, Jr., for their valuable ‘••
comments on earlier drafts of this manuscript.
on the other person. Doing so involves a
choice of attire, selection of language, the use
of manners, body postures, and many other
considerations. Each participant is “on stage”
and “acting” in ways specifically chosen to
create the most favorable impression. The
same seems true of almost any organizational
event—from the chance meeting between
peers in the hallway, to the choice of language
and format for a memorandum. Scholars call
this phenomenon impression management, the
William L. Gardner III is the Hearin-Hess
associate professor of management at the
University of Mississippi, where he teaches
graduate and undergraduate courses in
management, organizational behavior, and
research methods. He received a B,S, in
business administration from Susquehanna
University and an M,B,A, and a D,B,A, from
Florida State University, Dr, Gardner
served as the research associate for a
major grant commissioned by the State of
Florida to identify the key competencies of
high-performing educational managers.
This experience, coupled with his background in the wholesale hardware industry,
serves as the basis for his research and
teaching efforts. His current research
interests include impression management,
charismatic leadership, managerial work,
motivation, technology in management, and
management education. He has published
articles in Academy of Management
Journal Academy of Management Review,
Journai oi Management, and Journal of
Management Studies.
process through which individuals attempt to
influence the impressions other people form
of them. SkiU in this process—for both masv
aging one’s image and identifying the impression management tactics of others—is becoming more significant for managers. This is
especially true in settings where work events
create pressures for quick decisions and spontaneous action, forcing the players to form
“impressions” that sen^e as the foundation for
later inferences. Indeed, skillful players in today’s organizational dramas take greal care in
defining and playing their roles, because they
realize the importance of their performance.
Players who fail to recognize this aspect of r-rganizational life run the drmger of performing
p)oorly, or unwittingly being relegated to iesser roles, such as extras or understudies.
Some people are oblivious to organizational dramaturgy. Their naivete may stem
from a lack of experience in organi?;ational
settings, as is often the case for nev,’ recruits.
Others may be aware of the dmm.a, but consider themselves to be above such petti/ matters. While such naivete or aloofness may be
understandable,, it is not without cosh llightly or wrongho the success of both individuals
and organizations as a whole depends, to a
degree, on the skill with which impressions
are managed.
Importantly, there aj’e some precedents
for this viewpoint. I’he influential sociologist,
ErvnngGoffman, made an eloquent argument
for the dramaturgical perspective in his classic. The Frei-entanon of the Self in Eveiydriy Life.
A concise summary of this approach appeared in management literature as early as
1977 in Victor A. Thompson’s classic essay titled “Dramaturgy.” In recent years, many
management scholars have likewise come to
recognize what researchers in sodal psychology have understood for years: Dramaturgy,
or impression management, explains much
about behavior in organizational settings.
Given the attention and value attached to this
concept, it is time for the basic notions that
underlie this perspective to be made available
to practitioners. Let’s start with the key performance elements..
THE ACTOR. As Shakespeare observed,
we are all actors in our lives. Because we are
all different, there are some parts (e.g., father,
manager) that we can legitimately claim, while
other roles (e.g., asitronaut, emperor) may be
beyond our reach. The extent to which we can
lay claim to certain identities depends on our
physical attributes such as gender, race, age,
height, weight, and attractiveness, our skills
and abilities (e.g., athletic prowess, computer
skills), and our psychological makeup, including our attitudes, values, beliefs, and personality. Together, these attributes help to determine the kinds of images we desire, and those
that we can effectively claim.
THE AUDIENCE. Certain key characteristics of an audience, such as status, power, attractiveness, and familiarity, have a great impact on the ways in which people present
themselves. All of us, for example, tend to
have a heightened awareness of impressions
we create when interacting with high-status
audiences such as top executives or celebrities.
THE STAGE (i.e., Siixiation). Obviously,
some situations (e.g., performance reviews,
presentations) elicit far different behaviors
than others (e.g., parties, family outings).
Some have weU defined norms for expected
behaviors (e.g., awards banquets, staff meetings); others, such as an initial meeting of a
newly appointed task force, are more ambiguous. Still, because “all meetings are theater” (complete with costumes, audiences,
and props), as George David Kieffer notes in
The Strategy of Meetings, actors may be able to
“set the stage” to suit their objectives. Long tables can be used to indicate status (e.g., the
head of the table) while discouraging participation; circular tables suggest equality and
encourage participation.
THE SCRIPT. As people experience interpersonal exchanges over time, they develop certain expectations about the sequence of
events they anticipate wUl unfold in similar
situations. Cognitive psychologists call these
sets of expectations scripts. For many activities—such as eating at a restaurant, shopping
at the supermarket, or answering routine mquiries from customers—people tend to overlearn the scripts and follow them mindlessly.
Less familiar situations may require actors to
create original, plans to guide their behaviiors.
For instance, a college senior on a first job interview may tiy to visualize the interview and
practice answering the anticipated questions.
Some organizations go so far as to provide members with carefully constructed
scripts to help them create desired impressions with key audiences. At Disney World,
all “cast members” are taught the Disney vocabulary in which customers are “guests,”
rides are “attractions,” and uniforms are “costumes.” In addition, the guides for manj? attractions are required to memorize a script,
along with several approved variations,
which they redte verbatim., Clearly, this carefully orchestrated performance is one of the
most dramatic and purposeful examples of
organizational dramaturgy.
THE PERFORMANCE. The total performance consists of a combination of verbal
(e.g., speech), nonverbal (e.g., body position,
tone of voice), and artifactiaal (e.g., dress, office decor) behaxdors. The nature of the performance also depends on ithe actor’s interaction motives. Social psychologists have
identified many motives for impression management, including the desire to be seen as
likable, competent, dangerous, morally vs/orthy, or even pitiful.
THE “REVIEWS” (i.e.. Audience Reac-
tions). Success occurs when the actor creates
the desired impression and secures the expected outcomes (e.g., a compliment, a friendship, a promotion). A performance that fails
may lead to unwanted axidience reactions
(e.g., boredom, disgust, anger, or amusement
at the actor’s expense). By and large, perfiormances that create favorable reviews are
much more likely to lead to desirable organi35
zational outcomes, such as a positive performance appraisal, a promotion, or a pay raise.
In view of the stakes, most people are very
concerned about the image their superiors,
peers, and subordinates have of them.
Let’s consider how combinations of these
components interact to produce a particular
performance. To do so, we draw on the work
of two prominent social psychologists, Edward E. Jones and Thane S. Pittman, to present scenarios and commentary on five
distinct types of assertive impression management strategies: ingratiation, self-promotion,
intimidation, exemplification, and supplication. In addition, we also call attention to several defensive or face-saving tactics that actors
use to repair a damaged image.
The Case of Steve Jacobson
The Actor. Steve Jacobson is one of fifteen
cop5rwriters employed by Jarvis, Jenkins, Anderson, and Jones (J.J.A.J,, Inc.), a respected
industrial advertising agency. Though happy
with his job, Steve would like a position with
more pay and status. His dream is to one day
be a partner in this firm.
The Audience. Steve’s immediate superior is Sandra Jones, a partner and the firm’s executive creative director. Recently, Sandra announced that she would be selecting one of
the copywriters to take the lead in developing
a campaign proposal for Waltrips’ Pharmaceuticals, a potential 8 million dollar account.
Steve saw this campaign as an excellent career
opportunity, one that could increase both his
visibility and income. Along with three other
copyvvrriters, Steve volunteered to head up
the project.
The Performance. In the weeks following
Sandra’s announcement, Steve’s behavior at
the office changed considerably. He purchased and wore several new business suits
and began usi ng an expensive cologne. Whenever he saw Sandra, he smiled broadly at her
and sometimes complimented her on her outfit, her hair, or some other aspect of her appearance. In addition, he made many favorable comments on her work, saying things like
“Nice job with the Bartels account, Sandra.
You really came through for us!” and “You’re
so creative; you’ve got a reaUy refreshing perspective!” Furthermore, whenever Sandra expressed her opinion, work-related or not,
Steve was sure to agree with her. He also went
out of his way to do little favors for her. For instance, Steve brought her a cake on her birthday and arranged to have an office birthday
party. On another day, he offered to make a
stack of photocopies for Sandra, even though
this was not part of his job duties.
The Reviews. Sandra’s impression of
Steve improved considerably. She had always
thought of him as a competent copywriter,
but she recently noticed several other positive
attributes, such as his professional dress, his
friendl}’ manner, and his willingness to help
others. Sandra also discovered that his ideas
about advertising seemed very consisteni:
with her own. Given these c]uaHties, Sandra
decided that Steve would be the best candidate for the Waltrips’ campaign.
Scenario Analysis. Motives to ingratiate
are most common in situations such as the one
depicted, where the actor is dependent on a
higher status person for the allocation of valued rewards. Under these circumstances, employees, such 3S Steve, often attempt to make
themselves more attractive or likable to the
target audience. Interestingly, actors often ingratiate themselves with their superiors without being consciously aware of their behavior.
While popular books like Dale Carnegie’s
Hoiv to Win Friends and Influence People have
long recognized the power of ingratiation, researehfcTS are just now beginning to chart ihe
extent to which this tactic is used. For example, when R. W, Allen and Associates interviewed managers to identify the most common political tactics they encountered at
work, 35 percent of the supervisors and 17
percent of the CEOs mentioned ingratiation.
The supervisors used expressions such as
“buttering up the boss” and “apple poliihing” to describe these tactics.
In our scenario, Steve used a variety of verbal (e.g., flattery, opinion conformity, favors),
nonverbal (e.g., smiles), and artifactual behaviors (e.g., wearing new business suits and
cologne) to ingratiate himself with Sandra. His
success with this tactic is not unusual; research
indicates that ingratiating subordinates are better liked and receive more pay raises, favorable
performance appraisals, and promotions than
do equally qualified, non-ingratiating co-workers.
Ingratiation, however, is not without its
risks. Motives to ingratiate are sometimes so
transparent that superiors see through the
act. When this occurs, ingratiation may backfire. Furthermore, if the target discusses the
actor’s behavior with others, his or her reputation could be further tarnished. Finally, the
target’s disgust may be accompanied by other negative outcomes such as verbal abuse, a
poor performance appraisal, or even a demotion or termination.
Given the risks involved, it is clear that
Steve’s ingratiating behavior represented a
gamble that paid off. With another audience,
however, his rather blatant efforts could have
backfired and hurt his image. For Steve, the
opportunity to head up this project was well
these behaviors are too obvious and lack finesse. Subtle ingratiation tactics include complimenting the target on a job well done,
agreeing on major issues while disagreeing
on minor ones, and asking a third party to
confide with the target the actor’s positive
opinion of him or her.
Self-Promotion: The Case of
Jane McDowell and Lance Adams
The Actors. Jane McDowell and Lance
Adams are both management students Vf’ho
will soon graduate from a large midwestern
university. Both have interviewed for a management trainee position with J-Line Hardware Company, a large wholesale hardware
distributorship. Jane, an outstanding student
with a 3.9 GPA, will graduate near the tqp of
her class. She has been active throughout her
college career in a number of student orgainizations and served as an officer in several.; She
has some supervisory experience working in
her family’s restaurant business. Lance, on
the other hand, is a good, but not exceptional
student. He has a 3.1 GPA, no managerial experience, and has not been involved in extracurricular activities.
Research reveals that people who are skilled at
ingratiation are better liked and receive more
pay raises and favorable perfonnance appraisals
than their co-workers.
worth the risk. In making this choice, he was
exposed to one of the great ironies of ingratiation: The situations in which actors are most
tempted to use it are also the ones in which it
is most obi/ious. Social psychologists caU this
tradeoff “the ingratiator’s dilemma.” Because
of this dilemma, socially skilled subordinates
avoid using lavish agreement, blatant favors,
and direct praise for marginal work, since
The Audience^ Albert Wesley, 44, is the
sales manager and part-time recruiter foil” JLine who interviewed both Jane and Lance.
After earning a degree in marketing fircm
Penn State, Albert joined J-Line as a manaigement trainee. He was promoted to his current
position aboutfiveyears ago. Overall, Albert’s
background is similar to that of about half of
J-Line’s other department managers; mostiare
young males placed directly into management positions through the company’s management trainee program.
The Performances. During Jane’s interview, she was modest about her accomplishments and background. Assuming that her resume would speak for itself, Jane
downplayed her credentials to avoid appearing conceited. She felt that quiet confidence
was the best way to present herself. In contrast. Lance was very assertive. He chiimed
that he was familiar with the hardware business because his neighbor owns a highly successful retail hardware outlet. He also
brought a fifty-page business plan he had developed with his work group in a small bi.isinfc^ss management course. While Lance’s actual input into this project had not been
exceptional, he implied that he was the group
leader,and the key contributor. He wrapped
up the interview by suggesting that his interpersonal skills separated him from most of the
students in his class.
Tlie Reviews. Lance impressed Albert as
a highly assertive, ambitious individual—a
real go-getter. While his GPA was not as high
as Jane’s, Lance seemed to have the interpersonal skills the job required. His background
and attitude also seemed consistent with
those of the other junior managers at J-Line.
While Jane had the grades, she didn’t seem
assertive enough for a managerial position.
Albert invited Lance to travel to J-Line’s headquarters for a second interview, where he extended a job offer. Lance accepted.
Six months later, Albert chatted with
Lance’s boss, who stated that he was disappointed with the trainee’s work: Lance didn’t
seem familiar with the hardware industry
and he lacked management skills. To Albert’s
surprise, the supervisor also said that Lance
wasn’t putting much effort into his job.
Scenario Analysis. Why was Jane so
modest during her interview, and Lance so
positive? The answer can be found by examining the characteristics of the situation, the
actors, and the audience.
Lance used several self-promotional tactics including self-enhancement, entitlements,
and ‘BIRGing.” Self-enhancement involves ef38
forts to portray one’s attributes in a highly
positive way. Lance adopted this tactic when
he described his interpersonal skills and
knowledge of the wholesale hardware industry. Entitlements are used to maximize the actor’s apparent responsibility for positive outcomes—as when Lance claimed that he was
the informal leader of his student work group.
“BIRGing” stands for “Basking in reflected glory.” It occurs when actors try to associate
themselves with someone or something that is
viewed positively by the audience. A good example is Lance’s efforts to lin k himself with his
neighbor, a successful retailer in the hardv’are
industry. While Lance’s efforts at self-promotion appear transparent under scrutiny, they
were effective in impressing Albert and landing him the job.
A recent experiment by David C. Gilm.ore
and Gerald R. Ferris suggests that Albert’s response would be shared by many other recru…
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