Impression Management

The term impression management is associated with the work of the influential post-World War II sociologist, Erving Goffman (1922–1982). It is central to his dramaturgical approach, as outlined in The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life (1959), in which social interaction is analyzed as a set of theatrical performances. Impression management is an overarching term that characterizes the wide variety of strategies used by people to control the ideas others have about them. It is concerned with the general ways in which people present themselves in public settings. Goffman's work has fostered extensive research in the social sciences (see Brissett and Edgley 1990). Goffman described people as “sign-vehicles” about which others attempt to gather information. Interpreting this information is complicated because some impressions are ...

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