THEORIES OF IMPRESSION MANAGEMENT
Managing impressions has gained so much popularity that a lot of behaviorists have developed theories of self-presentation. All these theories agree that we present ourselves depending on the situation and other’s perception about us. Some of these are as follows. Symbolic Interactionism: The theory was presented by C.H.Cooley and G.H.Mead. This theory stresses that participants in any social interaction try to take other’s role and see themselves as others see them. Presentation of the Self: This theory presented by Erving Goffman says that the social interaction in daily life is a theatrical performance. Every person selects a visage as a background for social interaction with others. Situated Identities: This theory says that for each kind of social setting there lies a pattern of social behavior which conveys an identity. And to adopt that identity is particularly appropriate for the setting. TACTICS OF SELF PRESENTATION:
There are situations where it becomes necessary that we maintain performance in order not to look bad or awkward. Different tactics of impression management have been identified by Jones and Pittman (1982). The following tactics can be adopted. o
Ingratiation: The main aim of an ingratiator is being likeable. This involves complimenting another person or indulging in flattery with certain amount of credibility and honesty. In this strategy, behaviors are consciously designed to influence a particular person which involves the attractiveness of one's personal qualities. It also involves conforming to another’s view point. As we like those people who think or act like us therefore we present ourselves in the way we can be appreciated. o
Intimidation: the main aim of an intimidator is to control others and exercise power. In this strategy the person stimulates fear among others to get the work done. He does not care about being likeable at all. o
Self- promotion: the main aim of a self promoter is to advertise oneself. He/she wants to be seen as competent in certain areas. The person may acknowledge minor flaws in his skills while emphasizing on the stronger points of his personality at the same time. In this way an impression of dominance is created which helps him to have an influential impact. However, if his claims do not match his abilities, then he may create a very bad impression. o
Exemplification: In this strategy, an impression of moral worthiness and integrity is elicited. o
Supplication: in this strategy, the person tries to gain sympathy from others by advertising his weaknesses. Even if we don’t admit we are constantly managing impressions of others in most social circumstances. It is because of the reason that we want to look good in front of others. However there are two questions that may be raised in this regard; 1.
The extent to which it is ethical and acceptable, both socially and specially for the interviewers. 2.
The extent to which it is effective.
If we talk specifically of interviews these questions are quite critical. Because more impression management does not necessarily mean a better impression is gained of the interviewer. Impression management not only happens, it is expected to happen. This can actually cause a dilemma where the interviewer either marks you down for not managing impression sufficiently or managing it too much. For example if you are not being smart enough and showing assertiveness, interviewer might cut your marks. Similar is the case if too much of it is adopted in the form of boasting or exaggeration. Lets suppose that in a particular situation a interviewer expects certain degree of exaggeration or fabrication and downgrades what every one says. And at that stage if you are truthful and everyone else exaggerates, you are certainly caught in trouble. Therefore the conclusion is to manage the impression you make, but neither over-do it nor under-do it either. Some simple tips are: o
Dress tidily without over-doing...
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