Impact attempts to be seen as competent

Impact of Student’s Impression Management Strategies
and Styles On Their Academic Performance.


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Impression Management
is defined as the process by which individuals tries to influence the images
that others form of them (Rajeshwari 2015; Jones & Pittman, 1982; Riordan
, 1995). In social interactions, Individuals consciously or
unconsciously tries to control their images being projected(Becker-Lindenthal, 2015). According to Gardner
(1988), It is the behavior which is used in creating and maintaining one’s
desired images. Most of the scholars used the overall definition of impression management
as “the process through which individuals attempt to control and influence the
impressions that other people form about them”.

Several categorizations
of impression management strategies have been developed by different scholars
(e.g. Valenzi& Taggart, 2003; Bozeman &Kacmar, 1997; Kumar and
Beyerlein (1991); Moss; Wayne & Ferris, 1990; Tedeschi&Melburg, 1984),
but the taxonomy presented by Jones and Pittman in 1982 received most of the
scholarly attention. They pointed out five distinct strategies of impression
management that individuals are probably to employ. The first is the
Self-promotion; whereby individuals attempts to be seen as competent by playing
up their capabilities or accomplishments. The next, ingratiation; refers to
favor-doing or use flattery, aimed at being seen as likeable. Moving further is
Exemplification; where people go above and beyond the call of duty to in order
to gain moral worthiness and be seen dedicated. The fourth is Supplication;
where individuals seek to publicize their weaknesses with a purpose of being
see85n as needy. Lastly, Intimidation is that individuals attempts to appear as
threatening and powerful to be seen dangerous. Employing these five tactics
people try to present following images; competent, friendly, dedicated, needy,
and tough.

 Problem Statement

The present
study aims to study the impact of student’s impression management strategies
and styles on their academic performance.

To examine the
usage and effects of business student’s IM, their IM tactics and styles are
considered. That is, the authentic acting IM style which is sincere and the
role acting IM style which is artificially created to influence audience’s
impressions (Sara Safay 2009).

Objectives of the study

This research will explore whether business students manage
impressions in order to be in order to get better grades. This study will
addresees the gap in the literature on the relationship between student’s
impression management and  their academic
performance. Furthe this study will measure students impression management
tactics as well as their styles of impression management. To be more elaborative,
this study has following objectives:

To measure the level of impression
management used by the business students

To find the impression management
strategies which are mostly applied by the business students

To measure the impact of impression
management on student’s academic performance

To find the effective Impression
management strategies for academic success



Do business students manage
impressions to influence their teachers?

Which IM styles and tactics are
mostly applied by business students in order to influence their teachers?

Do students’ IM styles and tactics
influence business students’ academic performance? And which are effective and
which not?


                                LITERATURE REVIEW

What is Impression Management?

Management is the process by which individuals tries to influence the images
that others form of them (Rajeshwari 2015). In social interactions, Individuals
consciously or unconsciously tries to control their images being projected(Becker-Lindenthal, 2015). According to Gardner
(2007), it is the behavior which is used in creating and maintaining one’s
desired images. Most of the scholars used the overall definition of impression management
as “the process through which individuals attempt to control and influence the
impressions that other people form about them”.

engage in impression management for many reasons that are influenced by social,
personal and situational factors. Scholars describe the process as a quick
cost-benefit analysis (Schlenker, 1980). At the same time people are assessing
the benefits that might be achieved by presenting one image rather than another
one; they are also considering the costs of presenting that particular image
(Rosenfeld et al., 1995).

Impression Management Tactics

Tactical IM addresses a specific target
audience – here the teachers – and is intended at achieving concrete, short
term goals (Rafaeli& Harness, 2002). According to the Jones and Pittman
taxonomy (1982) individuals use five IM
strategies, ingratiation, self-promotion, exemplification, supplication and intimidation (Jones and Pittman,


ingratiator who wants to be liked, the main focus of self promoter is more on
being competent. This is a kind of advertising. In this strategy individuals
want to be seen as competent by playing up on their accomplishments or
abilities. The main focus of the actor usually is on the specific skills they
possess, such as intelligence and playing a musical instrument to attract others
(Rosenfeld et al., 1995). According toGodfre (2016), self-promotion is a more proactive
process than ingratiation which is reactive comparatively. Self-promoter seems
to be arrogant when he promotes his actions & skills by those who actually
do not possess knowledge or evidence that whether his claims are true or not (Jones
& Pittman, 1982). It is most frequently used, when there are minimum
chances for the claims to be challenged or questioned (Rosenfeld, 1995).

self-promoter wants to be recognized as proficient and hence normally
recognized as an aggressive strategy (Arif, 2011). Furthermore, it was also
found by Giacalone& Rosenfeld (1986) that people engage more in
self-promotion when they have opportunity to explicitly impress someone with a
greater status about his competency. This strategy can also be practiced to get
a new job or obtaining admission into university (Tedeschi&Riess, 1981).

acting IM style:

A definition of
IM should not exclude the possibility that people actually present internal
states (Kirouac& Hess, 1999). In accordance with this view an authentic
acting IM style involves attempts to convey to audiences a portrait that is a
slightly polished and glorified conception of the self, but one that is
genuinely believed by the actor to be true (Baumeister, 1982; Cheek &
Hogan, 1983; Greenwald &Breckler, 1985; Leary, 1995; Schlenker, 1980). This
is done by presenting information on personal experiences, thoughts, emotions,
needs and wants (Harter, 2002) that are believed in and are in accordance with
the true self, but aligned to the situation, including the actor’s goals and
the audience’s expectations and values (Schlenker et al., 1992). With an
authentic acting IM style, the individual forgoes to mask or to deny real
emotions and thoughts, and does not pretend to be phony. The impression manager’s
internal state and external expressions are congruent. Consultants having an
authentic acting IM style represent themselves to clients no differently than
they view their actual selves. Their major aim is to present true aspects of
themselves in order to impress the client.

Most researchers
emphasize that IM is employed to accurately communicate emotional states or
habitual traits (Leary et al., 1990; Schlenker, 1980). “It may take a
considerable amount of careful staging to display one’s true beliefs and
feelings in order to create a social world conducive to one’s own personality
and sense of self” (Snyder, 1987: 172). According to Goffman (1959) there is
nothing inherently unreal about the roles individuals perform, that they in
fact reflect real aspects of people’s complex selves and are not false masks
that hide the true parts of a person. Peterson (1997) called this process
“fabricating authenticity” and described it with the example of country music
performers. To make the audience believe in the authenticity of country
performers – to think of them as “real country persons” – various aspect in
their appearance are adapted, as for instance their accent, their hairstyle and
so on.

We assume that
students who have an authentic acting IM style instead of a role acting IM
style will receive better performance evaluations expressed in higher
participation grades.

 Role acting IM style:

A role acting IM
style stands opposed to an authentic acting IM style and is merely performed to
meet the social requirements of a particular situation. With a role acting IM
style individuals tend to display a socially desirable portrait that is not
consistent with the actual self (Leary, 1995). The expression of conformity to
role expectations is intended to result in beneficial impressions in others.
This is done by pretending certain characteristics, feelings, needs and
thoughts; if necessary by masking one’s authentic self – including current
emotions and the like. Hence, consultants employing role acting IM can produce
effective displays on demand irrespective of their inner self.

Roles are
described to evoke desired behaviors irrespective of personal needs (cf. Katz
et al., 1978). Given that societal pressures and not internal cues are the
determining factors for consequent behavior in authenticity results (Deci&
Ryan, 1995; Ryan , 2003). “In those instances where one deliberately
enacts an identity opposed to one’s true self, role experimentation is likely
to be inauthentic” (Kernis, 2003). In the context of emotional labor this
behavior is called “surface acting”. It involves the masking or manipulation of
expressing naturally occurring emotions (Hochschild, 1983). For example,
service providers may show concern by asking customers how they are doing when,
in actuality, they care little about the customers’ welfare (Ashforth and
Humphrey, 1993).

It is assumed
that those students who are passive in their use of IM tactics should be
receiving lower participation grades by their teachers.


performance generally refers to the how well a student is accomplishing his/her
studies (Scottk 2012). In order to determine the academic
performance, grade point average (GPA) is used as a common measure of student performance.
Academic achievement is used for its obvious depiction of students’ academic
performance and for its intended representation of academic ability(York, 2015).Moreover, GPA is a
measure of the consistent academic achievement of a student across terms
(Brashears& Baker, 2003). In addition, GPA has been found to be a significant
predictor of persistence (York, 2015)and
serves as one indication of the degree to which students have responded to the
institutional environment (McGrath , 1997; Tinto, 1993; Tross,
Harper, Osher, , 2000).

performance is normally measured by CGPA which is associated with class and
subject related achievement (Robbins et al., 2004). Further the most widely
recognized measure of student performance in the writing on school results; GPA
is the sole measure of student performance utilized as a part of the literature
on Face book (Reynol Junco., 2014).

few studies found that female students are not performing better then male
students in university of economics. Latest studies have discovered no
significant sex impact on student performance (Jae-Kwang Hwang., 2013). Outside
of class, Arano and Parker  (2008)  discovered that working has a negative  impact on student performance for freshmen
however that for upper classmen the negative 
impact  happens  just 
when  working  longer 
hours. Kember et al. (1996) demonstrate the number of hours worked
represented just a little proportion of GPA. They showed that understudies’
learning methodologies may be well wrong for advanced/higher education if
students worked extend periods of time yet achieving little.

students’ academic performance intensely relies on the parental association in
their academic activities to attain/accomplish the high quality in academic
achievement (Barnard, 2004). Students’ academic performance is influenced by
various components including admission points, school background and social
economic status (Geiser&Santelices., 2007). Students’ academic performance
can be measured as far as graduates’ attributes (Bowden et al., 2000).

are two types or ways to assess the student academic performance: formal and
informal. Informal assessment consists of the continuous feedback and proposals
offered by the practicum educator. This type of assessment happens on a weekly
or everyday/daily basis. A formal assessment is a definite review &
comparison of the student’s academic performance with assessment criteria,
learning objectives, and standards for the practicum. It happens toward the end
of every academic term or more often, depends upon the school policies or
extraordinary circumstances. The consequences/results of the formal assessment
are set in a written/composed report (Horejsi, C.R. , C. L.,

are 2 types of factors/variables that influence the performance of the
students. These are external & internal classroom factors. They strongly
influence the students’ academic performance. Classroom internal elements
include student’s capability in English, class size, class timetables, test
results, text books, homework, learning facilities, environment of class, and
instructor role in class, innovation used as a piece of the class and exams
systems. Outside classroom variables/components fuse extracurricular
activities, family issues, work and budgetary issues, social and distinctive
issues. Research shows that student’s academic performance relies upon numerous
factors. For example, learning facilities, sexual & age differences, and so
forth that can influence student’s academic performance (Hansen, Joe B., 2000).


The researcher has developed following hypotheses after the
study of the available literature.

Hypothesis 1: Students’
use of an authentic acting IM style has a positive relationship with their
academic performance

Hypothesis 2: Students’
use of a role acting IM style has a negative relationship with their academic

Hypothesis 3: Student’s use of self-promotion has a positive
effect on academic performance.


Predictors                                                                                                                    Criterion












Definition and Operationalizations of the variables

Table 3.3

Definitions/Operationalizations of
the primary variables used in this study.



Academic Performance
Authentic Acting
Role Acting
Self Promotion

“Academic performance is measured as a composite
measure, a cumulative grade-point average (CGPA) achieved”.
“Tendency to show to the audience a portrait that ishonestly by him or
her believed to be true the individual has an authentic acting IM style.
Hereby, the individual does not hide from nor plays for the audience to
influence their future behaviour and thinking”.
“Individuals use flattery or favour-doing in an
attempt to be seen as likable”.
“Individuals go above and beyond the call of duty to
appear dedicated”.


Data Collection

is considered as an integral part of the research. With the help of this
process, all the desired information is gathered by using different tools or
techniques. Data can be obtained in natural or artificial environment, but
whatever method is adopted, it should be collected within the ethical boundaries.
The data for this research is collected within the ethical boundaries and the
respondents’ identity is kept under strict confidentiality. The respondents are
informed properly about the topic and objectives of the research and actual
data collection was started after proper permission of the respondents. The
data collection can further be divided into two types:

Primary and Secondary
Data Sources

In the present study, athorough literature review
helped in collecting relevant secondary data, whereas primary data collected
through survey by using a questionnaire instrument.

Target Population

this study, target population of the study is the total number of business students
(male/female) enrolled in department of management sciences and commerce of the

Sample Size

research of studying impression management of business students confined to the
business students enrolled in the NUML, Multan only. As per data provided by
the examination branch of the university, there are total 300 students enrolled
in undergraduate and postgraduate programs consisting 150 students in management
sciences department and 150 students in commerce department.


SPSS 20 has been used to statistically analyze our
primary data. Along with descriptive statistical tests, reliability analysis,
correlation, and regression analysis are done to get the outcomes.

of Research

The present study has few limitations.
Firstly, the findings could not be generalized broadly, as the present study is
conducted in Bahawalpur having only the business students as participants.
However, considering mentioned impression management styles and tactics will
help in measuring impression management of students of other fields as

Secondly, the sample size in the present
study was limited, interesting results can be obtained with the large sample
size as the specific styles and tactics used varies from person to person.  Thirdly, the respondents of the present study
are business students enrolled only in NUML Multan. This fact, therefore cannot
allow generalizations of the findings on different organizational/university
cultures. The same point is authenticated by the Bottomley and Holden,

Moreover, the data collected is self-reported by the students. This
sampling technique has few limitations because when the data is self-reported
then it is assumed that the respondents are able to answer some questions
precisely about themselves. And respondents may answer in socially desirable
manner, this is also another problem associated with this kind of technique. As
they also mentioned their overall CGPA which was counterchecked later from the
examination department.

by using this questionnaire to measure student’s impression management in
class, student’s other behaviors such as non-verbal impressions were left out. And
there were limited number of questions included in the questionnaire to the
respondents to rate each of the impression management tactic. So maybe these do
not cover the whole range of student behaviors and some important information
from students might have been missed.