A conceptual framework of impression management: new insights from psychology, sociology, and critical perspectives

Article English OPEN
Brennan, Niamh ; Merkl-Davies, Doris M. (2011)
  • Publisher: Taylor &Francis
  • Related identifiers: doi: 10.1080/00014788.2011.574222
  • Subject: Corporation reports | Impression management | Discretionary narrative disclosures | Disclosure of information | Corporate image | Business communication | Rationality | Organizational behavior | Discourse analysis, Narrative

In this paper we develop a conceptual framework, based on the concepts of rationality and motivation, which uses theories and empirical research from psychology/behavioural finance, sociology and critical accounting to systematise, advance and challenge research on impression management. The paper focuses on research which departs from economic concepts of impression management as opportunistic managerial discretionary disclosure behaviour resulting in reporting bias or as ‘cheap talk’. Using alternative rationality assumptions, such as bounded rationality, irrationality, substantive rationality and the notion of rationality as a social construct, we conceptualise impression management in alternative ways as (i) self-serving bias, (ii) symbolic management and (iii) accounting rhetoric. This contributes to an enhanced understanding of impression management in a corporate reporting context.
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