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

Nitya Chawla, Allison S. Gabriel, Christopher C. Rosen, Jonathan B. Evans, Joel Koopman, Wayne A. Hochwarter, Joshua C. Palmer, Samantha L. Jordan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)657-691
Number of pages35
JournalPersonnel Psychology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 2021
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was funded in part by the Eller College of Management Department of Management & Organizations Small Research Grant Program. d downward IM upward IM passives positives aggressives

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.


  • impression management
  • latent profile analysis
  • performance
  • social hierarchies
  • well-being
  • work withdrawal


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