In this chapter, we will be discussing about the historical background of impression management, followed by the definition and scope of impression management. There are different metaphors that used to describe people that use impression management tactics. According to Shakespeare’s As You Like It : “All the world is a stage, and all the men and women merely players ” , he compares the the world to a stage and life to a play, literally means that our life is just a drama only. However, Shakespeare only interpreted it as a theatrical analogy but not a sociology theory.
The term was first adapted into sociology from the theatre by Erving Goffman, who developed most of the related terminology and ideas in his 1959 book, “The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life”. Thus, the theatrical analogy was being transformed into dramaturgy, a method of analyzing social interaction as if the participants were performing on a stage. Dramaturgy is a sociological perspective starting from symbolic interactionism , and commonly used in microsociological accounts of social interaction in everyday life.
Erving Goffman (1922-1982), arguably the most original American theorist of the second half of the 20th century, the metaphor of life as theater is rich in meaning. He saw all human interaction as, in some ways, very much like a grand play. He was not, however, as concerned with sweeping generalizations about the human condition as he is much more concerned with the particulars of daily life-the micro-level interactions between individuals that, when taken together, constitute the human experience. At this micro level, he argues, the world is much more like a stage than we commonly realize.
Goffman stated that it is impossible to discuss people’s selves abstracted from their social situations. He writes,
“This self itself does not derive from its possessor, but from the whole scene of his action. . . this self is a product of a scene that comes off, and not a cause of it. The self, then, as a performed character, is not an organic thing that has specific location. . . [the individual and his body] merely provide the peg on which something of collaborative manufacture will be hung for a time. And the means for producing and maintaining selves do not reside inside the peg. (Goffman, 1959, pp. 252-253)”
Thus, the fundamental unit of social analysis is not the individual but rather as the “team” ,which is responsible for the creation of perceptions of reality in social set-tings. A people’s action is always depending upon the situation and the people, yet we could not really observe or even find out the deeper heart of a person.
While Goffman (1959) applied dramaturgy as a tool for smooth interactions, the theory then changes into a more application forms. Some social psychologists like Edward Jones labeled dramaturgy as serving more specific purposes for impression management. Impression management is rather a applied sociology theory that emphasis on the strategic such as gaining power and influencing others. During the 1970s, the impression management perspective became very popular among laboratory-oriented experimental social psychologists and in the mid 1980s, more organizational studies emerged to use the impression management framework. Most empirical studies on impression management concentrate on the situational or individual factors that influence a certain impression management behaviour or tactics that affect outcomes like promotions, performance appraisal ratings, and career success.
What is impression management ? Impression management is defined as the process by which people attempt to influence the images that others have of them (Rosenfeld, Giacalone & Riordan, 1995).
According to sociologist Erving Goffman, men and women are like actors, which perform in front of everyone (audience) to attract their attentions.They use their experiences as a script,to deal with daily activities. Usually a script contains of basic information that people stored in their mind like the persons involved, the situations and the meaning of a scene. Without a script,the situation might become chaos,and the actors’ behavious might become chaotic as well.When people engage in social intereactions, it is known as performances. The performance consists of a combination of verbal and non verbal behaviours, influenced by actor’s interaction motives. In the next chapter, we will be discussing more about impression management behavior.
Impression management behaviours
In this chapter,we will discuss about different types of impression management that exist,followed by Jones and Pittman’s (1982) impression management taxonomy.
According to Leary and Kowalski( 1990) there are two types of impression management behaviours:verbal impression management behaviour and non verbal impression management behaviour.Non verbal behaviour contains expressions like smile, yawns, and etc that can reflect the feeling of the actors without the use of words. Whereas for verbal impression management behaviour,it is defined as the opposite of non verbal behaviour because it involves the action of the actors to influence the others.
Verbal impression management can separate into 2 categories, assertive impression management and defensive impression management.. Assertive impression management is a tactic that to reveal a favourable image on the other. It also further divide into 2 sub-categories, that is other-focused (making sure that the target feel good about himself) and self-focused (aim to himself to make it seems that he has a potential skill and posses a good qualities on others). For defensive impression management, it is mostly used to repair or protect one’s image.
Jones and Pittman Taxonomy
E.E Jones was the first sociologist who investigate the social behaviour. He believed that the Ingratiation has the largest power to influence other people in order to increase their attractiveness of themselves. Jones and Pittman later developed another 4 classes of self-presentation strategies that will mainly engage in our daily life in order to influence the others. There are: Intimidation, Self-promotion, Exemplification and Supplication.
The most common and most studied impression management tactic is ingratiation. It is also known as ” attraction management “. According to Jones, ingratiation is a process where the ingratiator find out what the audience finds attractive in an individual and then provide it to them. It is widely used by everyone in our daily activities.People engage in ingratiation to enhance their own actual power in a relationship. Ingratiation can be a successful way of influencing others if it is used wisely.
People who engage in intimidation try to gain social power by being feared. The intimidator try to convince his target that he is dangerous. By doing so, he will gain respect from his targets. Intimidation is most likely to take place in working field, family, school and etc.
Unlike ingratiation who want to be liked, self promotion focus more on being competent.The actor usually focus more on specific skills that they have, such as playing a musical instrument to attract other people. The self-promoter wants to convince others and portray an image of competence among everyone.The aim when using this strategy is usually an immediate one such as getting admitted into university or getting a new job.
The ingratiator wants to be liked, the self promoter wants to be seen as competent, the intimidator wants to be feared, and the exemplifier wants to be admired and respected.He wants to be seen as disciplined and honest Usually the exemplifier always come early at work or takes work home everyday.They want everyone knows that they work hard and engage in self sacrifice.By doing so, the others will feel guilty because they are not the same as the exemplifier. The target will somehow support the exemplifier by doing the same thing sooner or later.
The last self presentation strategy would be supplication. It is a strategy where someone exploits their weaknesses.The supplicator tend to seek help or sympathy from others. Usually it is used by those handicapped people, who cant perform daily activities normally. Supplication is the opposite of self promotion.
Based on daily realities, critically discuss how lectures, parents, politicians and artistes engage in impression management.
In this chapter, we will discuss in details about the question of this assignment (which is stated above).
As we mentioned in previous chapters, everyone engage in impression management in their daily lifes, especially the artistes.There are three types of strategies artistes use to manage their impressions, they are ingratiation, self promotion, and supplication.
Most of the artistes use ingratiation tactic to attract their fans. Artistes do it through make up, wearing provocative clothes, expensive jewelries to portray a healthy look. This gives a fake image towards the public on the attractiveness of the celebrities. For example, Nicole Kidman will not step out from her house without any make up. Imagine if the fans see their idol’s real look without any make up, they might feel surprise and disappointed, and this might cause them to support another artist instead of the original one. That’s why we always see the artistes in heavy make up or beautiful clothes, but never see them in normal looks.
Besides ingratiation, artistes also use self promotion strategy when engaging in impression management. Artistes do it by promoting themselves and portray an image of competence among them. This will show the difference between the celebrities. They want the audience to recognize them for the skills, not only their physical appearance. For instance, Tom Cruise is one of the most well known male actor in Hollywood. He might not be as handsome as Brad Pitt, but his unique acting skills made him as the best male actor in the past 10 years. This proves that physical appearance is not the only tool to survive in the artistes’ world, but also the unique skill that each artist possesses.
In addition, artistes also use supplication strategy to manage their impression. As we all know, Michael Jackson was found addicted to drugs during the 1990s.He admitted taking Valium, Xanax and Ativan to deal with the stress of the child sexual abuse allegations made against him, and painkillers actually were prescribed to soothe excruciating pain that he was suffering after recent reconstructive surgery on his scalp. All the fans were shocked and upset when they found out about that. They can’t accept the fact that their idol has been on drugs for so long. Some fans were disappointed and refused to support him anymore. However, he admitted the mistakes and acknowledge that should be punished. He pleaded the fans to forgive him for his silly mistakes.In the end, the fans forgive him for drugs abuse and continue to support him.If he did not apologize to his fans, the situation might changed.
In this assignment, we have a clearer picture about the background of impression management and the definition of it. We also understand that there are different types of impression management strategies that we use in our daily activities.
The main purpose for this assignment is to study about the different ways to engage in impression management by different individuals with different roles. Artistes, politicians, lectures, and parents are the targets for this assignment. By using Jones and Pittman Taxonomy, we can understand how the targets manage their impressions in daily activities. Different people will use different strategy to manage their impression, but their goal is the same: attract attention.
To conclude, impression management is very important to all of us. We need it in our daily activities. Everyone wants to make a good impression when we are communicating with other people. A good impression is very important because we will never get a second chance to make a first impression.
UNIVERSITI TUNKU ABDUL RAHMAN
FACULTY OF ENGINEERING AND SCIENCE
ACADEMIC YEAR: 2012
OCTOBER 2012 TRIMESTER
ASSIGNMENT COVER SHEET
Course Title : INTRODUCTION TO SOCIOLOGY
Course Code : UAPS2003
Tutorial group : Tutorial 3
Title of assignment : Impression management
Due date : 14 November 2012
Student’s ID No.
Year and Sem
Parents usually are the one who having most of the time get in touch with their children. Hence, it is not peculiar that parents usually use some kind of impression management on their children. Children, on the other hand, will be influenced by their parents, in order to be disciplined or becoming a well-mannered person in the future. Thus, showing that impression management is the important part in this field for educating children.
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Parents usually use 3 types of impression management on them, there are Ingratiation, Intimidation and Exemplification. In terms of Ingratiation, parents usually behave friendly in front of their child. Even though they are working at outstation, leaving them alone or sending them to the guardinator to take good care of their child, they call them once a week in order to get in touch with them, building a good rapport with them, no matter how far is it. Some parents even buy some material stuff to their kids as their compensation of time. They shower their children with love and harmony, awarding them by taking them to fun-fair whenever they done something correctly or scoring a good results. Besides, when the children feel unhappy to a certain kind of things, like feeling not happy with their teacher in daily school experiences, parents will become a good listener, listen to their story or experiences and find a solution for them. All in all, parents will be able to “win” their children heart, and in return, children will treat his/her parents back nicely. Ingratiation shows that parents use their positive side of themselves to influence the children perception in the front stage.
The next impression management is Intimidation. This kind of impression is simply regarded as the opposite action of the Ingratiation. As we known, Ingratiation is type of the impression in order to get people attractiveness, whereas for Intimidation, it is kind of the impression that make the surrounding feel scary and dangerous. Parents also using this type of impression towards their kids. Parents, usually father uses his air of authority to educate their children in those days and nowadays as well. This situation has made the surrounding very scary and children will feel the sense of danger towards him. Consequently, children dare not against to their parents in the future. Even though when children come to the rebellious stage, they also dare not tone loudly against their parents. This seems much effective than Ingratiation in order to educate their children. Intimidation shows that parents using their negative side of themselves to influence/fear the children in the front stage but at the back stage, they are very caring for their children.
The following impression management is Exemplification. This is a kind of impression that a person sacrifices himself in order to influence the other people so that the target will feel guilty and tends to changing his/her bad behaviour. This usually happen on parents in educating their children as well. For instance, when parents saw their children throw rubbish in the public without intentionally, they will pick up the rubbish and throw it into a proper thrash in front of their children, or whenever the parents saw others doing so, also picking up the rubbish and throw it in a proper way, in front of children of course. This has made children guilty that littering is a bad behaviour and they start to change themselves, by not repeating the same mistake again. This shows that parents setting a good example in front of their children in order to instil a good morale values on them. In china, most parents are very poor. They usually work as a farmer and yet they want their children to have a further studies on overseas to get a proper degree. Thus, in order to fund the education fees, they worked very hard and even sell off their valuable things like the land or their house as well to let their children to study. This is also a kind of impression management in parents engaging to their children, sacrificing themselves and making their children to feel guilty if they do not study hard to get a proper degree.
Impression management refers to the individual intentionally or unintentionally influence and control others formed their own impression. Appropriate impression management helps individuals and others to establish good interpersonal relationships, even attracting the attention of others, and then pull nearly the distance between. Therefore, if lecturer can grasp of teaching impression management strategies, will help to attract the attention of students and learning focused, directly or indirectly, to enhance the students’ learning motivation and effectiveness. Goffman said that “Everyone has their own performance to others; everyone is always trying to keep a proper impression in social contexts, in order to get a positive rating. Everyone has a set of face-saving or face – saving strategy that “face work”.
The impression management tactics of lecturer use is ingratiation, intimidation and exemplification. Ingratiation is the strategy use to influence others, in order to increase their own personal attractiveness. How do we choose to show ourselves, by increase our personal appearance? By clothes, darker clothes to convey authority and lighter clothes is produce a friendly image. Do not wear the excessive jewellery and open-toed shoes. Besides, most of the lecturer uses shaping good teaching in order to enhance teachers’ social status and importance enhance communication between schools and parents. Lecturer emphasis the influence of their background behavior, try to understand student subcultures, establish a positive self-identity, in order to shorten the spatial distance between teachers and students. Lecturer unauthorized use of ingratiation strategies to enhance students’ interest in learning, to create a sound and stable self-identity of students.
Intimidation, the use of coercion is to show the behavior itself is a dangerous man, and caused a horrible impression to others, to accept each other for fear of control, so as to achieve their own ends. Most of lecturer given quizzes and practice in the class to supervise students concentrate in class, understand students’ learning. Students feel afraid to take quizzes and practice in the case of an unpredictable. This situation helps students to increase their concentration. For those their attendance rate is lower than 80% in each subject, examination not allow as their punishment. Students will attend their class and do not absence randomly. For those who full attendance, bonus marks will give as their rewards.
Exemplification, model strategy use refers to behavior for those who show outstanding moral behavior, designed to lure followers exemplary. The core of the strategy is to make others agree with the behavior, in order to win the respect of others, and to increase its own influence to the lofty impression of integrity and behavior. If lecturer is fair and equitable, students were more likely to trust the teachers, actively participate in courses. “Score is in your hand, however you decide, not for me to decide”, let students know the score in their hands, and openness their result. Respect is important, if teachers respect the students, the students also felt seriously under mutual respect with the teachers, the students learn the effect will be better. Do not quibble over or any contempt and crumbs attitude, if you give him a face embarrassment, may be the next time he not come to class anymore or sleep at there, what ever you talk, he not listen also. If students can feel the enthusiasm and sense of responsibility of the teacher, students take the initiative go to class and take part of actively in class.
In conclusion, the teacher can directly or indirectly affect the students, but also has the responsibility to make good profit to the future with a variety of ways to enhance students’ learning motivation and effectiveness. Therefore, as a teacher if the proper use of impression management can promote human interaction of teachers and students to improve the students’ attention and interest of lectures, with the love of learning contexts, and thus effectively improve learning outcomes.
Do you ever ask yourself why the politician is always full of cheers of support from the audiences in his or her political speech? Recently in 6 November 2012 of the United States President Election, Barack Obama managed to win the election and be able to serve for his country for four years more. It is partly due to the high support from the people of United States. However, we may notice that an election is always full of political talks. Therefore, politician will take their opportunity to give their point of views in order to get their supports and build up their reputation.
Without doubt, the phenomenon of dramaturgy and the application of impression management can be easily seen in politics. Many of the politicians have their own family and of course they perform differently in different situations. For example, a politician will perform as an ambitious and inspired leader in front of the mass people. On the other hand, politicians will behave to be mean and aggressive to the member of the opposite party. Moreover, they would not behave what they are in politic towards their family members and their beloved. It is then obvious that the behaviors of politicians are dependent to the situations, and the application of impression management is tremendously important to the politicians.
Most importantly, what strategies should politicians adopt in engaging impression management?
First, most of the politicians use ingratiation tactic as their strategic in politic. The Tactic of “ingratiation” is to make one politician more liked and attractive by the others. So politician will sometime find out something that attract the people’s attention and provide them something that people really want. They will be considered as caring, responsible and considerate. The purpose of this tactics is to give the good impression to the people and thus the people will support him as a politician. Dato’ Sri Haji Mohammad Najib bin Tun Haji Abdul Razak (born 23 July 1953) is a Malaysian politician who has been the sixth Prime Minister of Malaysia since 2009. Recent time, our Prime Minister Najib have establish many policies that benefit all Malaysian. As Malaysia is a multicultural country, 1Malaysia Campaign was established by the Prime Minister on 16 September 2008. 1Malaysia Campaign put emphasis on ethnic harmony, national unity, and efficient governance. Furthermore, Najib also introduced the Government Transformation Program (GTP) to increase quality, skill and transparency in public service and the government. Specific measures include the use of Key Performance Indicators to measure the performance of officials and agencies and National Key Result Areas to define goals for specific areas of public policy. Najib also develop a New Economic Model that will speed Malaysia’s transition to a high income country. The plan will emphasise ways to increase the income and productivity of workers by encouraging knowledge industries and increasing investment from overseas.
Moreover, politicians also engage intimidation tactic towards their political enemy such as the representative of opposite member, terrorists and others. Sometimes the politician stands their point of view very much and they hope that thing can process according to what he says. So they will use this strategic to fear the people and thus achieving what he want. It may be unusual to see in a democratic country because the politician will definitely don’t want to lose his supports, but this can be widely seen in the some dictators of underdeveloped countries such as the last dictator of Libya- Muammar Gaddafi. In some how they want to scare the people from preventing them to overthrow his idea and rule. One example that can explain this tactic is the famous Munich Agreement that happened in 30 September 1938. Munich Agreement, (September 30, 1938), settlement reached by Germany, Great Britain, France, and Italy that permitted German annexation of the Sudetenland in western Czechoslovakia. As Hitler continued to make inflammatory speeches demanding that Germans in Czechoslovakia be reunited with their homeland, war seemed imminent. Neither France nor Britain felt prepared to defend Czechoslovakia, however, and both were anxious to avoid a military confrontation with Germany at almost any cost. With lots of effort, the Britain and France were able to persuade Hitler to have a meeting. However, Two Czech representatives were only allowed to sit in the room next door. Afterward, Czechoslovakia was informed by Britain and France that it could either resist Germany alone or submit to the prescribed annexations. Finally, the German army was able to conquer Czech without having a war. It is clear to show that Hitler applied tactic of intimidation and fierce impression towards his enemies made him able to achieve his goal.
Furthermore, self-promotion is vital for politician because they want to show the capability in doing this. From this, they will get support and then continue in making contribution to the society. During the election, we can always see many politicians go to their election area to shake hand with the voters and even giving a political speech. The main purpose of these moves is to promote oneself and gain vote from the people. One of the examples of this impression management is the fireside chats of Former President Franklin Roosevelt. They were called fireside chats because fireside chats because when you chat by the fire, you feel calm and relaxed, just like what the fireside chats were intended to be like. People could sit at home and listen to the president speak. President Roosevelt talked the nation on the radio about various issues during his presidency. On that time, fireside chats were broadcast every Sunday night. He spoke of plans such as creating jobs for the unemployed. He gave hope when people needed hope. Consequently, he gained great support from the people of The United States that made him elected more than two times.
Self presentation/ Presenting the Self
In self presentation, we are the actors and the others are the audience and vice versa on other people perception. Generally, all of us will try to display the positive side of us and hide the bad images of us. This can be mainly seen in our daily life experience. For instance, we would dress up nicely when we dating with somebody else, laughing with other people although it was a bad joke, and try to pretend a good listener although knowing that it was a boring story. So, just ask ourselves, does this scenario has destroy our true identity on pretending the others although knowing that something is not going well. The answer is NO because all of us are applying the Goffman’s principle of role distance, the separation of outward performance as well as inward performances. Therefore, we may outwardly perform a nice, smiling face but inwardly scolding and cursing them instead. Outward performance is similar to the actor does onstage and the inward feeling is comparable to what the actor does on the backstage. Goffman hence uses this stages to his theory in analysing the self-presentation, dividing into frontstage and backstage. In front stage, people present their selves in ways expected for the others, like audience. On the other hand (backstage), starts to reveal their true identity, showing no concern for the audience. Frontstage performance is not necessary consider as dishonest or making fool on the others (audience), but it can be perform better if we apply the Jones and Pittman Taxonomy on the front stage and conceal our true identity in the back stage in our daily, it can seems much interesting in order can influence other people perception as well.