Title

A person-centered view of impression management, inauthenticity, and employee behavior

Department

Michael A. Leven School of Management, Entrepreneurship and Hospitality

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

12-1-2021

Abstract

Impression management (IM)—the strategies through which employees create, maintain, or alter a desired image towards others—is a ubiquitous part of organizational life. To date, scholars studying this interpersonal phenomenon have largely focused on Jones and Pittman's (1982) taxonomy of IM strategies, examining consequences associated with the tactics of ingratiation, self-promotion, exemplification, supplication, and intimidation on others’ reactions to, and perceptions of, the actor. Thus, scholarly understanding surrounding the implications of IM for employees’ own well-being is nascent. We integrate ideas from the emotional labor and IM literatures to develop and test theory that explains the impact of IM strategies on the actors themselves. Across three complementary studies spanning 2337 full-time employees, we use latent profile analysis to investigate how the conjoint use of multiple IM tactics—each of which is associated with a distinct, and sometimes conflicting, image—yields unique consequences for employees’ feelings of inauthenticity at work. In addition, we also explore how profiles of IM tactics differentially relate to theoretically relevant work outcomes, namely coworker ratings of employee performance, work withdrawal, absenteeism, and perceived sincerity. Taken together, our work sheds light on the prevalence and impact of employees combining IM tactics during work interactions.

Journal Title

Personnel Psychology

Journal ISSN

00315826

Volume

74

Issue

4

First Page

657

Last Page

691

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

10.1111/peps.12437

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