What Will the Boss Think? The Impression Management Implications of Supportive Relationships With Star and Project Peers

David M. Long, Michael Baer, Jason A. Colquitt, Ryan Outlaw, Rashpal K. Dhensa-Kahlon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

19 Scopus citations

Abstract

Although impression management scholars have identified a number of tactics for influencing supervisor evaluations, most of those tactics represent supervisor-targeted behaviors. This study examines the degree to which employees form supportive relationships with peers for impression management purposes. In so doing, we explore this intriguing question: Will employees gain more from forming supportive relationships with “stars” (i.e., top performers who are “on the fast track” in the organization) or “projects” (i.e., “works in progress” who need help and refinement to perform well)? We examined this question in 2 field studies. Study 1 included 4 sources and 2 time periods; Study 2 included 2 sources and 3 time periods. The results showed that supportive relationships with both stars and projects seemed to represent impression management opportunities, insofar as they predicted supervisor positive affect and perceptions of employee promotability. Impression management motives only predicted supportive relationships with stars, however, not projects. Relationships with projects were driven by prosocial motives not concerns about managing images. We discuss the practical and theoretical implications of our results for the managing of impressions and peer relationships.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)463-498
Number of pages36
JournalPersonnel Psychology
Volume68
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - 2015
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management

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