Academic journal article American Journal of Business Research

Iam Quotient for Impression Management: A Guide to Appearance and Behavior for Young Professionals

Academic journal article American Journal of Business Research

Iam Quotient for Impression Management: A Guide to Appearance and Behavior for Young Professionals

Article excerpt


As Business School professors and management consultants, the message that must delivered all too often, is the need to understand the part appearance and behavior plays in getting a job or promotion. The role appearance and behavior have on differing job-related outcomes for employment, retention and promotional issues will be addressed by our newly introduced Image Appearance Management Quotient (IAMQ). The value of the IAMQ lies in its self assessment guidelines and its usefulness as a tool to share with those who need help in the quest to get more from their abilities, knowledge and skills. This article is designed to be used in a class, with clients, by search firms or those that are having trouble getting a job or promotion. The IAMQ was developed from data gathered from our research, the extant literature and experience. The ability to understand the image you project and its part in your career is a key to increased effectiveness (Monarth, 2010 and Service, all dates).

Keywords: Appearance, Behavior, Image, Candidates, Promotion


All "candidates" for an initial interview or promotion are relatively equal and acceptable on paper or they would not be in the pool. The applicant resumes that are selected for further consideration look alike and provide a picture of what and who a candidate is related to job specifications for knowledge, skill and abilities. And, one's performance appraisals and related work histories show high performance or they never get considered. And, in America today where GMAT, LSAT, MCAT, SAT and so on, are essentially IQ tests, the IQ of old is there (Service, 2005b and 2005c; and Sternberg, 1985 and 1996). This leads us to conclude that if image played no part in selection, then there would be little reason to have interviews (Ridley, 2003). Therefore image becomes key to a candidate getting what they seek. Image here is used as what comes to mind when a name is mentioned. Often there is little in the way of long term involvement. The image of "you" is developed quickly in someone else's mind. Image is what people think of you when they "observe" you in action in an interview, assessment center, social setting or from afar in work or school situations (Peters, all dates). The ability to manage one's image within the context of what can and cannot be controlled is the key. The successful candidate is one who can translate image into a behavior that is seen as valuable to the key decision maker.

As students and beginning workers become young professionals with managerial and leadership responsibilities, they must move away from the mentality of students or workers; and all too often they need appropriate professional appearance and behavior described for them. There are hundreds of books on appearance and manners, yet, one finds little that gets to the point and describes clearly how and why one is to appear and act as a young organizational professional (Charan, 2007). Additionally, what is often called common sense is all too often in reality un-common sense especially related to appearance and behavior (Blanchard, 2007; Friedman, 2005 and 2008 and; Levitt and Dubner, 2005 and 2009). Even small children will quickly say that good-looking people are smart and nice and that the more appearancechallenged are both dumb and mean (Goleman, 2000; Lockamy and Service, 2011 and Service and Fekula, 2008). Look around and you will see this stereotypical "appearance-is-it" attitude when decisions about hiring, firing, promoting, marriage, friends, management and leadership are made.

Research Question and Methods

The social sciences research world of "Business School" disciplines is characterized by globally multiply confusing social phenomena with varied perceptions, ambiguities and complexities. All "social" researchers experience cloudy complexity that is multifaceted as they dissect human actions and interactions, and more especially perceptual concepts such as appearance and behavior for purposes of comprehending the abstraction of order useful in developing solid research questions. …

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