Tuesday, November 17, 2009

"All the world is a stage, and all the men and women merely players", famously quoted by William Shakespeare is the crux of social relationships today. Split personality disorders have not remained as disorders while the concept of Machiavellians is not restricted to a genre. To sum it all up, let me present to you the theory of Impression Management.

Behavioral scientists have recently identified two components of Impression Management - Impression Motivation and Impression Construction. Impression motivation is particularly applicable in organisations where employees try to control the perceptions of their superiors about them. Impression construction refers to the methods adopted by a person to create the specific impression that he wants.

Impression management is a concept of self-presentation where one presents himself to create an image. This image may be created for various reasons viz. to hide one's flaws, to rise to the demand of the situation, to fulfill expectations of a role - If observed carefully then all of them converge towards a better fit in the environment that one operates in. In our own ways we have instilled this as part of our values from our very childhood. Our parents teach us the difference between conduct and misconduct, our schools teach us the difference between respect and disrespect while our management institutes introduce us to professionalism.

This concept is growing so rapidly that today it is also an important criteria for selection of candidates. I clearly recall an interview where we, the candidates, as part of the feedback system where marked on a separate category called "Impression management". Reputed organisations like Audi, during the first round of interview, request the candidates to make a presentation of their own self. Seminars are floating around where speeches are delivered on how to advertise yourself as a chicken (Confused? Well you know how both the egg and the chicken are equally sought after!) There is thus a growing need to be able to market oneself in the right manner, not only to create the right impression but also to be spotted among the faceless crowd. So how many people do you manage to impress in a day? And how many right people do you manage to impress in a day? If not an innate ability, how important is it to adopt it?

...Competitive environment.. sure.. it just keeps getting better :) !!



Capt A.Nagaraj Subbarao said...

Impression management is a wonderful concept. I think in this age ( yours ) it is critical for success, particularly at interviews.....you have 20 secs to make an impact.

Harking back to my time, here's a story.......

At my Naval college, I found myself to be one of the few guys who did not smoke.

This was a problem, because I felt I was not creating the right impression ( Macho ), so one drag led to one more & before I realized I was an officer & a smoker. it took me twenty years to kick the habit!

Impression management or impression mismanagement!