Impression Management, Attributions and Behavioral Outcomes: A Co-worker Perspective


The aim of the study was to investigate impression management from a coworker’s perspective. In doing so, this study proposes a model of impression management, attributions, and the envier’s behavioral responses. Data were collected at T1, T2 and T3, from white-collar employees in the services industry using convenience sampling. Data from 331 respondents was analyzed using Smart PLS 3.

The results showed that the envious observer attributed coworker supervisory, self and job focused impression management in self-serving ways to their incompetence and the supervisor’s lack of social perceptiveness, which led to responses such as imitation of supervisory focused impression management, reduced performance, and targeted counterproductive behavior. However, the data did not support the hypotheses that attributional style would moderate the relationship between coworker impression management and the observer’s attributions and responses.

The study has implications for scholars to study impression management from a third-party perspective. Additionally, it suggests that scholars approach various domains of organizational behavior in an integrated manner, for greater meaning. Furthermore, this study suggests that supervisors should be cognizant of their behaviors that reward impression managing attempts by employees. Limitations and future research directions are also discussed.

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