Self Presentation Theory - Consumer Behaviour

Topics: Sociology, The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life, Impression management Pages: 6 (1634 words) Published: January 17, 2012

‘It might be said of self praise (if it not entirely shameful and ridiculous) that we praise ourselves fearlessly, something always sticks.’ – Francis Bacon

Self Presentation is part of the Self Concept and Impression Management theory. Impression management (IM) theory suggests that any individual or organization must establish and maintain impressions that are compatible with the perceptions one wants to give to the public. From both a communications and public relations viewpoint, the theory of impression management suggests the vital ways in which one establishes relationship between personal or organizational goals and their intended actions which create public perception. The idea that perception is framed around the presumption of other’s perceptions of you becomes the reality from which we form ideas and the basis for intended behaviors. In the theory propounded by Erving Goffman in his book – ‘The Presentation of Self’ he talks about the individuals’s management of self presentation to the world which continues to grow into a whole field of strategies for managing others impressions of ourselves through socio/psychological approaches. He suggests of building an impression of oneself by adjusting our own behaviour to obtain that sociologically accepted image of ourself in the public.

Self presentation as conceptualized by Goffman’s book (1959) builds on theories of identity and social performance. Goffman’s thesis is that self presentation is the intentional and tangible component of identity. Individuals engage in complex self negotiations to project a desired impression to others. This impression is maintained through consistently performing coherent and complementary behaviors (Schlenker 1975, 1980; Schneider 1981). Goffman (1959) terms this process impression management.


Theorist have identified mainly four primary motives for Self Presentation 1) Self- esteem, 2) identity development 3) social and material reward 4) social approval. A self presentation can enhance an individual’s sense of self worth. The fundamental motive involves seeking respect and honor to enhance self esteem.

The Self Presentation Theory has highlighted different kinds of self presentation by different theorists: Defense Self presentation: Focus on excuses and Justification typologies of accounts where excuses minimizes the responsibility but admit the behaviour is wrong (Benoit, 1995; Bromley, 1995; D’ arcey,1965 ) Assertive Self Presentation: This projects favorable identities unlike defensive presentation, where an individual projects or is projected in favorable light. Non verbal behaviour: This identifies smiling, eyecontact, body language space, and paralanguage as self presentational strategies (Schlenker(1980), DePaulo (1992)) Positive association: Cialdini (1989) conceptualised BIRG theory where he asserts that psoitive association is an indirect form of self presentation where an individual clains connection other people, objects and events that are positively valued. BIRG therefore stand for Basking In Reflected Glory. Rendering Favours: Self presenter give out favours because people who give favours are generally liked.(Jones, 1964; Jones and Pittman, 1980) Opinion Conformity: The relationship between liking and similarity of opinion is well documented ( Berscheid and Walter ,1978) We tend to like people who share common liking, belief and goals. Compliments: Those who give compliments are well liked by those who receive it ( Arson and Linder, 1965, Mette, 1971)

Self Enhancement: When we tell people about who we are and what qualities we possess, those are opportunities for self enhancement and promotion and reflects the target in positive light to the audience ( Bromley, 1993)


Self Presentation and Consumer Interaction styles are innterrealted. Primarily there are those people who...
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