Impression management, also referred to as image management or perception management, entails influencing others’ perceptions of a person, an object, an event, or an idea. Sociologist Erving Goffman uses the metaphor of the theater to describe impression management as the performance of self vis-à-vis an audience. This entry first discusses the concept of impression management, and then examines the audiences for organizations’ impression management activities and the reliance on public communications for organizational impression management.

The concept of impression management refers to the way an organization uses public communications, symbolic actions, and physical markers to influence internal or external audiences’ perceptions of the organization and its performance, organizational crises, structural reorganization (e.g., mergers, privatization, demutualization), or ideas (e.g., corporate citizenship, sustainable development, ethical investment). Impression management ...

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