Impression management is a conscious or subconscious process that individuals use in order to influence the way that other people may perceive them. This is usually done by controlling information that is shared in social interactions, in order to create a specific image. According to (Goffman) we chose how we act and interact with other people, therefore possibly acting falsely in certain situations depending on what is socially acceptable.
There are many strategies that individuals can use in order to create the desired image; however, they do have strengths and weaknesses. An ideal example of this would be Consistency, this is where an individual displays reliability through there behaviour, an example of this could be someone not changing values, beliefs or morals they may have. Although this is mainly a positive trait as the individual would often have outstanding attendance, meet deadlines accordingly and be punctual and reliable; it may also show weaknesses.
A disadvantage of this strategy would be that it could lead people to believe an individual is inflexible If they are not willing to accept a change to schedules, rota’s and this could be seen as a major problem. Another strategy used is behaviour matching, an individual would attempt to copy or reflect a specific persons behaviour in order to impress them.
An example of this in play would be within a work environment, if an employee replicates a managers behaviour, in order to impress them. This could be by directing another member of staff to do specific tasks when they don’t have the authority to do so. Initially, this could help the individual to gain respect and show a willingness to learn and advance. This could also lead to irritation from the target person or persons working with the individual.
A final strategy that is used within Self-presentation may be exemplification, this is where an individual would attempt to display integrity and moral worthiness, in order to be seen as a ‘prime example’. An example of this could be a member of staff comparing themselves to another member of staff who is always late, in order to demonstrate that they are never late. Although this is a positive trait as the individual would be presenting him or herself as honest, disciplined or principle, it does have disadvantages.
A disadvantage of this strategy would be that the individual may come across as smug and hypocritical. The above methods come about as a result of Self-monitoring, an attribute that enables an individual to regulate their behaviour based on social interactions. Individuals who self-monitor attempt to judge how individuals will see them. A questionnaire in respects to identity and personality can be used to decide whether an individual may be a high or low self-monitor.
Self-monitor Results High score: 15-22 Intermediate score: 9-14 Low score: 0-8 According to (Snyder, 1974) individuals who are particularly concerned with the social and situational appropriateness of their behaviour are high monitors and they engage in social comparison more frequently than low self-monitors. High self-monitors are said to generally make good leaders as they are able to adapt their skills to meet the needs of the situation.
They are more concerned with fitting in and behaving appropriately than staying true to themselves and can, in turn, end up acting falsely or inconsistent. For the most part, people scoring high on self-monitoring are more likely to control information to display a more alluring picture of themselves (Fandt & Ferris).
A high self-monitor appreciates keeping the peace among their friends, even when they oppose an idea with one of them, they remain exceptionally respectful and rarely state their opinions. On the other hand, low self-monitors stay true to themselves and the way they act, no matter what situation they find themselves in. Low self-monitors tend to use inner beliefs and values in deciding how to behave and they are often reliable and consistent, however, they can also be seen as inflexible for there firm ways.
Someone who identifies as a low self-monitor would not be willing to accept any other point of view for example when it comes to religion and would adhere to their own views, with little sensitivity to social cues. Self-disclosure is purposeful disclosure of personal information between people. An individual will assess a situation and any potential risks that may arise before sharing information about themselves to someone.
In return, they will expect the other person or persons to share something about themselves. People make many decisions when going through the process of self-disclosure, this may include whether they are attracted to someone, seen as though there are many types of information we can disclose. Sharing information assists people in building strong bonds, trust and allows individuals to feel closer to one another. If disclosure is only one-sided, the conversation won’t flow and will quickly shut down. This could result in the individual who shared information to feel embarrassed and to also feel like their voice doesn’t matter, which will terminate the relationship. Information shared should be received with respect and empathy in order for disclosure to work effectively.
Disclosure usually leaves both parties feeling closer and therefore a relationship is started as likability increased. It is widely known that Men are less likely to self-disclose than women this is due to being taught what is appropriate according to your gender, at a young age. Women are generally more emotional and seem to express themselves and men are more likely to bottle things up.
Another factor resulting in negative disclosure is oversharing, this may create humiliation which can show personality imperfections and can come across as unseemly, which diminishes likeability. An example of this would be disclosing that an individuals partner doesn’t allow them to have male friends or go out on their own as this may create a particular unappealing impression. Self-disclosure ought to begin freely with information such as taste in music or what work you are doing. It takes time to construct the desired bond and this will happen naturally if self-disclosure is based around positive components and sentiments, this steady stream of information will increase as the relationship advances.
Overall, all of the methodologies specified can be utilised in order to influence people’s impressions of a person, once these are connected they frame the desired presentation of one’s self as Goffman initially presented. In order to create positive connections both personally and professionally, these above techniques have to be executed in the correct way to avoid failed relationships.