Academic journal article Journal of Behavioral and Applied Management

Putting a Good Face on Impression Management: Team Citizenship and Team Satisfaction

Academic journal article Journal of Behavioral and Applied Management

Putting a Good Face on Impression Management: Team Citizenship and Team Satisfaction

Article excerpt


In this research, we examined self-promotion and ingratiation as correlates of citizenship behavior and desired outcomes in work teams. Results of a cross-sectional study using a combination of self- and peer-report data from student work teams suggested that two dimensions of citizenship behavior, i.e., altruism and conscientiousness, were partly a function of ingratiation and self-promotion. Further, ingratiation was found to be positively associated with individual satisfaction within teams and the extent to which individual members were perceived as likable among their peers. Peer perceptions of the motivation underlying ingratiation and self-promotion also had a positive relationship with liking for team member such that the more sincere a motive is perceived to be, the more positive the perception of liking for team member.


The topics of organizational citizenship behavior and impression management have gained increasing interest among organizational researchers in recent years. Much of the research on impression management has been based upon the assumption that it is self-serving and does not aid in the functioning of the organization or improve individual performance (e.g., Bolino, 1999). Conversely, much of the research interest on the topic of organizational citizenship behavior has been based upon the assumption that organizational citizenship behavior improves the overall effectiveness of the organization and is related to an employee's job satisfaction (e.g., Organ, 1988; Organ & Ryan, 1995; Organ, Podsakoff, & MacKenzie, 2006; Podsakoff & MacKenzie, 1994, 1997).

We argue, however, that impression management could be beneficial to work team functioning, most notably, by facilitating work team members to get along well with each other and potentially reduce the number of awkward situations. Although this perspective has been suggested under the "expansive" view of impression management (Schlenker & Weingold, 1992), it has not yet been tested in a work team context where lateral impression management tactics are a t work; however, some recent studies have reported positive outcomes associated with impression management (e.g., work group motivation, Megerian & Sosik, 1996; team cohesion, Rozell & Gundersen, 2003). Extrapolating from Rozell and Gundersen's (2003) stud y, it is reasonable to expect the impression management behaviors exhibited by team members will be beneficial in self-managed work teams.

The purpose of our research was to examine impression management correlates of citizenship behavior and their outcomes, i.e., team satisfaction and perceived liking for team member from peers. In the sections that follow, we present a review of the relevant literature to suggest that impression management is a function of interpersonal relationships inherent in work groups. We then review the organizational citizenship behavior (OCB) literature, which suggests that citizenship behavior might be positively associated with impression management. Lastly, we report the results of our research, which provides support for the argument mentioned above.

Impression Management and Lateral Influence

We base our framework of functional impression management on Goffman's (1955) work describing impression management as "face-work" with rituals of social interaction including a cooperative social etiquette: "The person not only defends his own face and protects the face of others, but also acts so as to make it possible and even easy for the others to employ face-work for themselves and him. . . . A person's performance of face-work, extended by his tacit agreement to help others perform theirs, represents his willingness to abide by the ground rules of social interaction." (p. 224). From Goffman's perspective impression management is omnipresent in social interaction. Further confirmation of Goffman's analysis of self-presentation in social interaction comes from his (1959) book: "Information about the individual helps to define the situation, enabling others to know in advance what he will expect of them and what they may expect of him" (p. …

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