Attribution, Impression Management & Self-Presentation

Stems from Causal Reasoning (CR) theory—in order to survive, people have an innate need to understand the causes of their successes and failures.

Based on their beliefs (i.e., attributions) regarding the causes of their successes and failures, individuals then alter their behavior to achieve success and avoid failure.

Locus of control—indicates the degree to which you attribute your successes and failures to internal or external causes.
Internal (i.e., residing in the person)
External (i.e., residing outside the person)

Stability—whether or not the cause is perceived as something that is relatively permanent and stable as opposed to temporary and changing

Attribution Styles
People have a consistent pattern of thinking about success and failures.

Dimensional Characteristics for attributional explanations:
-Ability (internal)unchanging and stable
-Effort (internal)/changing and unstable
-Luck (external)/changing and unstable
-Task Difficulty (external)/unchanging and stable

Attribution Styles: Optimistic
The tendency of some individuals to make internal and stable attributions for success (e.g. high ability) and attribute failures to unstable external dimensions such as luck and chance.
Attribution Styles: Pessimistic
The tendency of some individuals believe that success is due to temporary (i.e., unstable) causes such as luck. They attribute failure to their own internal and stable characteristics such as low ability.
Attributional Biases: Self-Serving Bias
the tendency to take credit for success (internal attributions) and blame others or the environment (external attributions) for failure
Attributional Biases: Actor-Observer Bias
the tendency for actors to attribute their outcomes (successes or failures) to external factors whereas observers tend to attribute actors outcomes to the internal characteristics of the actor.
Attributional Biases: False Consensus Effect
Bias that results when observers believe their own behaviors and choices are typical and appropriate and the using them as a standard by which to judge the behavior and performance of others.
Attributional Biases: Hedonic Relevance
The extent that observers and actors experience personal benefit or harm as a result of the outcomes they are evaluating, their attributions for the outcomes will be biased toward optimizing their benefits.
Impression Management: Definition
Process by which people manage and control the perceptions of others
Promoting Enhancing Strategies
-Obstacle Disclosures
-Information Manipulation
Demotion-Preventive Strategies
Use to minimize responsibility
-Information manipulation
Antecedents for Dysfunctional Impression Management
-Resource Scarcity
Impression Management (IM) Research Findings
Leaders in high in IM are promoted at higher rates than those that are low in IM.
Leaders that are high in IM are rated higher by their subordinates and superiors than those who are low in IM
No evidence of effectiveness.
Self Presentation
Involves the selective presentation of aspects of the self and/or the omission of self-relevant information in order to optimize the probability that a favorable social impression will be created and an undesirable impression will be avoided.

An individual’s identify or image before an audience.

Self Presentation: Defensive
Defensive SP repairs a tarnished identity
Actions w/ perceived negative consequences are likely to generate discursive accounts directed toward relevant audiences.
Examples: Accounts
Self Presentation: Assertive
Requires SP of positive qualities, attributes, behaviors

Project favorable identities (e.g., competence, likeable, successful). Strategies include:
-non-verbal behaviors
-positive association
-rendering favors
-opinion conformity

Self Presentation: Self-Serving Bias
Accepting credit for success and avoiding responsibility for one’s own failure
Self Presentation and Success
Acclaiming Self-Presentations-used to secure recognition. Acclaims are the opposite of accounts. Acclaims involve increased responsibility and the positive evaluation of an act as its dominant issues.
-Entitlements– Claim responsibility for the event. “We did it.”
-Enhancements—Shape perception of achievement to increase recognition for that act. “My acts have made the world a safer place for the rest of us.”

Disclaiming self-presentations in story telling to appear modest.
Multiple goals/options

Influences on Disclaiming
-You disclaim (appear to be modest) when an audience has prior knowledge of an individual’s success.
-When the presenter expects the audience to be evaluative rather than supportive
-When a joining partner disclaims

Individual differences as predictors of modest self-presentations (i.e., self-esteem, feelings of personal control, self-confidence, and social anxiety). They may reverse self-serving bias and produce modest SP.

Motives to Engage in Self-Presentation
-Self esteem
-Identity development
-Social and material rewards
-Social approval
Using Self-Presentation in Groups
-Social loafing
-Attributions for responsibilities
-Social facilitation—increase in responding that results from the sights and sounds of others present
-Conformity to group norms
SP and Social Anxiety in a group
Why misery (usually) likes company?
-Diffusion of responsibility