Social perception is concerned with how one individual perceives other individuals. Conversely, impression management is the process by which the general people attempt to manage or control the perceptions that others form about them. People often tend to present themselves in such a way so as to impress others in a socially desirable manner. Thus, impression management has considerable’ implications for activities like determining the validity of performance appraisals. It serves as a pragmatic, political tool for someone to climb the ladder of success in organizations.
The Process of Impression Management
As with other cognitive processes, impression management has many possible conceptual dimensions arid has been researched in relation to aggression, attitude change; attributions and social facilitation, among other things. Most recently, however, two separate components of impression management have been identified – impression motivation and impression construction. Especially in an employment situation, subordinates may be; motivated to control how their boss perceives them. The degree of this motivation to manage impression will depend on factors like the relevance that these impressions have on the individual’s goals, the value of these goals, the discrepancy between the image one would like others to hold and the image one believes others already hold.
Impression construction, the other major process, is concerned with the specific type of impression people want to make and how they create it. Although some theorists limit the type of impression only to personal characteristics others include such things as attitudes, physical status, interests, or values. Using this broader approach, five factors have been identified as being especially relevant to the] kinds of impression people try to construct: the self-concept, desired and undesired identity images, role constraints, target values and current social image. Although there has been a considerable research done on how these five factors influence the type of impression that people try to make, there is still little known of how they select the way to manage others’ perceptions of them.