The Art of Self-Presentation: A Study on Impression Management among Academicians in Sri Lankan State Universities
Impression Management is one of the important phenomena in everyday life, which everyone uses as a strategy to improve their current state of affairs. This qualitative study on impression management among academicians in Sri Lankan state universities was carried out to explore the impression management strategies which are adopted by academicians, while trying to identify the motives behind them to practice those strategies. Eight academics of a leading faculty in a state university, which is in the Colombo district were selected as the sample using the purposive sampling technique. Semi-structured interviews were adopted to collect data and the Thematic Analysis Technique was used to analyze those collected data. Findings of the study indicate that academicians of the selected context use a variety of impression management strategies. Those include direct strategies of creating a good image through presenting the self as competent, likable, diligent, supplicatory, and dangerous. Strategies of apology, reasoning and rejecting were identified as the direct ways of defending a bad image. Indirect impression formation is done by criticizing, passing the fault to others, and getting appreciation from others. Not only that, but academicians also use non-verbal ways such as attire, facial expressions, and vehicle & other accessories to create impressions. Further, the results illustrate that academicians are motivated to manage impressions to maintain a good image of themselves, to build a relationship, to achieve job-related goals such as, job security, career growth, and finally to motivate others for success. This study also provides some valuable theoretical and managerial implications and considerations for future research in the field of impression management.
Keywords: Academicians, Impression Management, Impression Management Strategies, Impression Management Motives