Impression management behavior: Effects of the organizational system

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to compare patterns of impression management in two organizational systems, namely, organic and mechanistic. Design/methodology/approach - Qualitative data were gathered from 23 employees by means of in-depth, semi-structured interviews. In addition, questionnaires pertaining to the use of impression management strategies toward superiors and peers were given to 208 employees from military and R&D organizations. Findings - The results suggest that employees in mechanistic systems engage more in impression management behavior and direct their efforts more often toward their superiors than toward their peers, most frequently by using the strategy of Ingratiation. On the other hand, employees in the organic system sample use impression management to a lesser extent, and they direct it more equally toward superiors and peers. Their predominant strategy is Initiation. These results are discussed in light of the differences in the norms and structural characteristics of the two organizational systems. Research limitations/implications - The mechanistic system was represented by a military organization and there is disproportionate representation of males in the survey sample. Originality/value - The paper demonstrates the importance of the specific characteristics of an organizational system in shaping employees' impression management behavior.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)290-308
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Managerial Psychology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 23 Mar 2007


  • Employee behaviour
  • Organizational structures
  • Organizations

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Applied Psychology
  • Management Science and Operations Research
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management


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