Ethical Impression Management Case Study

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According to a recently concluded survey by CareerBuilder, a US-based human capital solutions provider, 58% percent of hiring managers claim to have caught a lie on candidate’s resume. 57% managers claimed to have interviewed applicants who over-decorated their skill set, while 55% claim to have witnessed cases of embellished responsibilities. The result of the survey begs one question, where does the ethical line lie in cases of impression management in interviews. Application of impression management tactics have been shown to positively influence interviewer evaluations. [1] There is no second opinion that there is nothing wrong with ‘putting your best foot forward’ in an interview situation, but when does the art of marketing oneself trespasses…show more content…
According to majority of authors, this case presents little ambiguity related to ethicality of impression management–most of it lying within the domain of ethical impression management. A simple case of leaving books on a particular topic strewn around in office to indicate competence in the particular area would broadly fall in this category (only if the competence is…show more content…
According to Erwin Goffman, one of the pioneers in the field of impression management, humans, in most social settings, have some understanding of what others expect from them and actively resort to impression management to meet those social expectations. In context of an interview, the best explanation would be the need to ‘look that part’. For example, appearance change of management students from unkempt to well-groomed and professional while going for an interview presents a classic case of impression management to meet social expectations. The analysis of ethicality here becomes how ethical our social expectations are? Let’s analyse the case of a company that did not perform well in the last quarter due to some major in-house problems. Now think of a situation wherein the company’s CEO is being interviewed by equity analysts. On being asked about revenue outlook of the company, how should he respond? Should he be brutally honest about the problems the company is facing, thereby scaring away potential customers, negatively affecting future revenues and inadvertently harming shareholder’s interests? Or should he conceal the problem due to the expectations of his shareholders? Here the analysis of the situation shifts from the CEO’s actions to ethicality of shareholders’

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