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Impression management (IM) behaviors, IM culture, and job outcomes.

Over the years, an abundance of research has accumulated in the area of impression management (IM). The preponderance of this research has examined human resource outcomes (e.g., performance, promotions, compensation) of different IM tactics (Gordon, 1996; Wayne and Liden, 1995). However, whereas much is known about relationships between IM tactics and career-related consequences (e.g., Bolino et al., 2008; Harris et al., 2007; Turnley and Bolino, 2001), much less is known about how the use of these tactics impact employees' intrapsychic and non-career related outcomes in the form of job satisfaction, burnout, and job strains. Additionally, much less is known about different workplace cultural norms related to IM usage and how those workplace norms affect employee outcomes.

In this study, the authors examined two seemingly divergent IM tactics: intimidation and exemplification. Intimidation is a negative IM tactic defined as acting threateningly to others so they will perceive one as dangerous or forceful (Jones and Pittman, 1982). On the other hand, exemplification is an IM tactic that seeks to make others perceive one in a positive light--to be seen as exemplary and going above and beyond your job duties (Jones and Pittman, 1982). Exploration of these two divergent forms of IM is meaningful given that ingratiation and self-promotion are some of the most studied tactics (Ferris et al., 2002), whereas intimidation and exemplification in particular are not as well understood and less frequently explored in the literature. As such, the authors believe that both of these IM tactics, and cultures where these tactics are prevalent, are likely to be associated with positive (job satisfaction) and negative (employee burnout and job strains) outcomes. Divergent tactics are explored such that they may provide insights into potential boundary conditions when considering the interaction of one's behavior relative to the company culture.

This study is framed within the stress research as well as within the fit literature. The seminal work of Victor Tom (1971) argued that individuals prefer similarity between self-concept and organizational image. More specifically, Kristof conceptualized person-organization fit (P-O fit) as "the compatibility between people and organizations that occurs when: (a) at least one entity provides what the other needs, or (b) they share similar fundamental characteristics, or (c) both" (1996: 4-5). Although an array of research explores values, personality, demands, supplies, and other dimensions of P-O fit, this study more narrowly explores shared characteristics and compatibility between an individual's IM behaviors and the IM culture/climate.

Furthermore, based on person-situation theory (Mischel, 2004), the authors argue that it is important to not only explore the usage of IM behaviors (Bolino and Turnley, 1999) and the cultural norms for these behaviors, but also the interaction of these two variables. In particular, this study believes that an individual's usage of these IM behaviors will exhibit a main effect, and that organizational cultures of IM usage will either intensify or lessen the IM behaviors- outcome associations. A mismatch between one's IM behaviors and the IM culture is related to job strain, as articulated by Mayes and Ganster (1988). This conceptualization of fit and "misfit" aligns nicely within the stress literature as will be discussed shortly.

Thus, the goals of this study are threefold. First, this study set out to empirically investigate if an employees' usage of intimidation and exemplification is related to these same three outcomes. Currently, the IM literature has primarily focused on performance and career-related outcomes, but little is known about how these tactics relate to job burnout, job strain, and job satisfaction. More specifically, the large majority of research on IM has examined career success-related outcomes (e.g., performance, promotions, and compensation), but few have looked at intrapsychic attitudinal and stress-related consequences, which often have important bottom-line implications for the workplace (e.g., Maslach et al., 2001). A second goal was to determine if organizational cultural norms of intimidation and exemplification usage are associated with burnout, job strains, and job satisfaction. A final goal is to investigate how an individual's usage of these behaviors and the cultural IM norms at the workplace jointly impact burnout, job strains, and job satisfaction.

Impression Management

Individuals can employ a variety of impression management behaviors. Of interest to the current research are the impression management tactics of intimidation and exemplification, two tactics that are less prevalent in the research compared to the popular, more socially desirable and more frequently studied tactics of ingratiation or self-promotion (see Ferris et al., 2002; Gordon, 1996). Intimidation includes behaviors that are intended to create an image of someone who should be feared in order to get one's way (Bolino and Turnley, 1999), and exemplification is a tactic that creates the image of a dedicated, hard-working individual (Jones and Pittman, 1982). These two divergent (e.g., negative as well as positive image building), and less frequently studied IM tactics can provide unique insights into workplace outcomes.

Impression Management Usage

Intimidation. As previously mentioned, the use of intimidation involves aggressively dealing with others if they interfere with your business and communicating that one can make life difficult for individuals if they push you too far (Bolino and Turnley, 1999). These types of IM behaviors are underdeveloped within the IM literature and have been plagued with inconsistent results (Ferris et al., 2002). Research to date has suggested that intimidation can lead to long-term, negative career consequences such as lower levels of promotions or career success (e.g., Maccoby et al., 2004). However, many would argue that this tactic is clearly utilized in the workplace and, when it is, the individual-level shorter-term consequences are likely to also be negative. That is, intimidation is likely to be resource draining due to the fact that it is a conscious defensive mechanism when others get in your way. In fact, research has shown that effortful self-presentation techniques, such as intimidation, consume more valued resources (Vohs et al., 2005). A theoretical lens to support this idea can be seen in the conservation of resources (COR) theory (Hobfoll, 1989, 2001). At the heart of COR is the notion that individuals have valued resources that they strive to accumulate and protect. When these resources (in the form of money, time, effort, energy, status, etc.) (Hobfoll, 2001) are threatened or individuals perceive they may be lost or not replenished at the same levels as they were invested, negative outcomes (lower job satisfaction, higher burnout, or job strain) are likely to result. The loss of valued resources is associated with decreased job satisfaction, as one's positive attitude is likely to be lessened, and higher stress-related outcomes are likely to be experienced given that employees are likely to perceive the implications of losing these valued resources. In line with COR theory, this study argues that intimidation is a resource-draining IM tactic and is likely to be negatively related to job satisfaction and positively related to burnout and job strains.

Hypothesis 1: Intimidation usage is negatively related to (a) job satisfaction, and positively related to (b) employee burnout and (c)job strains.

Exemplification. Exemplification occurs when actors engage in behaviors designed to make them appear dedicated or proficient (Bolino et al., 2008). To accomplish this goal, individuals may do more than is necessary when completing tasks or exceed expectations with respect to delivery date or mode of delivery. Whether it be coming in early, staying late, working "after-hours" at home, or always putting in 110%, exemplification is likely to result in lost resources and potentially negative outcomes. In essence, when individuals use exemplification to "appear" busy, another self-presentation technique that is effortful (Vohs et al., 2005), they are expending valued resources. Based on this logic, it is hypothesized that:

Hypothesis 2: Exemplification usage is negatively related to (a) job satisfaction and positively related to (b) employee burnout and (c) job strains.

Impression Management Cultures

One aspect of IM that has received virtually no attention relates to workplace norms or cultures of IM. This area of inquiry is important given that some organizations operate with high levels of IM behaviors as the norm whereas others have minimal amounts of these tactics being used. In terms of intimidation, when the organizational culture suggests these kinds of behaviors are the norm, employees are likely to react negatively both in terms of their attitudinal and stress-related outcomes. COR theory suggests that intimidation cultures are likely to be ones where resources are at risk. For example, a culture laden with persons who use intimidation would be one where individuals act threateningly toward others. This type of culture is likely to result in individuals using their time and energy to "survive" in the workplace and where other valued resources are threatened. Based on these arguments, it is hypothesized that:

Hypothesis 3: Intimidation culture is negatively related to (a) job satisfaction and positively related to (b) employee burnout and (c)job strains.

A culture where exemplification is the norm is also likely to be linked with attitudinal and stress outcomes. Although a positive IM tactic (intended to enhance one's own image), an organizational culture characterized by high levels of exemplification is likely to cause observers to feel greater pressure (Bolino and Turnley, 1999). This idea might exist because employees see that everyone else is "going the extra mile" at the workplace. Similarly, in cultures where exemplification is prevalent or the norm, individuals would likely realize that if they only work an average amount (i.e., complete the tasks outlined in their job description but nothing more), it may be viewed as less than others and the resulting rewards might be less than average.

For both of these reasons, in organizational cultures where exemplification behaviors are high, employees are likely to experience feelings of threat as valued resources might be lost due to the resource-acquiring behaviors of others (Hobfoll, 2001). Additionally, since this is the norm at the workplace, individuals would likely perceive that their investments of resources (e.g., mental effort, energy) are unlikely to result in high levels of resource returns. That is, colleagues may be using exemplification but may not necessarily be working harder. As a result, this study suggests that exemplification cultures will be negatively associated with desired attitudinal and stress outcomes. Based on these arguments, it is hypothesized that:

Hypothesis 4: Exemplification culture is negatively related to (a) job satisfaction and positively related to (b) employee burnout and (c)job strains.

Interactions between IM Usage and IM Culture

P-O fit addresses concerns with regard to the antecedents and consequences of compatibility between an employee and his/her employer (Kristof, 1996) as conceptualized by numerous authors to include the following array of comparisons: compatibility of organizational characteristics (e.g., culture, climate, values) relative to the person (e.g., personality, values); compatibility of organizational demands (e.g., resources) relative to the person's demands (e.g., physical resources); and organizational supplies relative to the person's supplies (e.g., time, effort, and commitment). Extant research has found that P-O fit is positively related to job satisfaction (Kristof-Brown et al., 2005; Verquer et al., 2003), and negatively related to job strain (Kristof-Brown et al., 2005) and job burnout (Siegall and McDonald, 2004). This study examines supplementary fit (Kristof, 1996). Supplementary fit occurs when group members share common values, self-concepts, or characteristics. In this study, fit is believed to be a match between an organizational culture of IM styles and one's usage of particular tactics of IM. Although it has been examined in other contexts, supplementary fit is a relatively novel concept within the IM literature.

Based on the concept of attraction-selection-attrition (Schneider, 1987) and social information processing theory (Salancik and Pfeffer, 1978), it is argued that individuals will search their organization for relevant cues as to the most appropriate behaviors, and have more positive outcomes within organizations that are an appropriate (supplementary) fit with regard to culture. Hence, organizational cultures that favor particular IM tactics will be more conducive to persons who likewise engage in those IM tactics. On the other hand, one could argue that misfit is associated with stress reactions (Edwards, 1991) leading to perceptions of potential resource losses (Hobfoll, 1989).

In addition, IM behaviors are viewed as a mechanism to acquire valuable resources within the workplace. Schlenker noted over a quarter of a century ago that individuals strive to "maximize desirable outcomes and minimize undesirable ones" (Schlenker, 1980: 42) through the use of IM. Individuals engage in influence behaviors to shape the images held in the minds of others, "trying to affect the attitudes and behaviors of others ... to reach our goals" and project an image that is based on one's own self-concepts (Schlenker, 1980: 42). Reaching one's goals within the workplace will require finding fit by utilizing acceptable IM behaviors--behaviors that are in line with what is perceived to be the cultural norm, and hence less resource draining.

As such, the authors propose that the intimidation culture moderates the IM usage--individual outcome associations. If others within the organization are utilizing intimidation as an IM behavior to acquire their own desired resources and individuals are also engaging in intimidation, they are likely to experience greater job satisfaction, lower levels of burnout and job strains. The behaviors of intimidation within an intimidation culture will level the playing field and minimize feelings of misfit. In general, when culture and behaviors match, positive outcomes will ensue such as increased job satisfaction; when culture and behaviors do not match, negative outcomes will be exacerbated such as increased burnout and job strain.

Hypothesis 5: Intimidation culture moderates the relationships between intimidation usage and (a) job satisfaction, (b) burnout, and (c) job strain, such that the best outcomes occur when there is a match (high-high or low-low) between intimidation usage and intimidation culture.

Similarly, exemplification culture is likely to moderate the exemplification usage outcome relationships. When the organizational culture is one where exemplification is the norm, individuals who engage in exemplification are likely to perceive that their individual behaviors are in line with or match the cultural norm. This match between individual exemplification usage and the culture is likely to be positively associated with high levels of job satisfaction and lower levels of burnout and job strains.

Hypothesis 6: Exemplification culture moderates the relationships between exemplification usage and (a) job satisfaction, (b) burnout, and (c) job strain such that the best outcomes occur when there is a match (high-high or low-low) between exemplification usage and exemplification culture.


The sample consisted of 319 full-time human resource (HR) employees from a wide range of organizations (e.g., public administration, education, health care, financial services, and transportation) in Brazil. Participants were recruited from a large list of organizations in three Brazilian cities (Porto Alegre, Sao Paulo, and Brasilia). In each of these organizations, the HR employees worked standard business hours (i.e., 8am to 5pm), and that is when they were expected to complete their work. In total, 550 HR professionals from the wide range of organizations were contacted offering them the opportunity to participate in the voluntary research. Of that number, 93 declined to participate, resulting in pen-and-paper surveys being mailed to 457 individuals. The survey was designed in English, translated into Portuguese, and translated back into English by two independent translators. Two weeks after the initial mailing, any participants who were mailed questionnaires were sent a reminder. In total, completed questionnaires were received from 319 HR employees (58% overall response rate). All of the respondents were over the age of 18 with an average age of 37 years. The sample was 48% male, 87% white, and had an average organizational tenure of 9.2 years.


Intimidation usage. Intimidation usage was measured with Bolino and Turnley's (1999) five-item scale ([alpha] = 0.89). The response scale ranged from 1 to 5 with 1 representing "I never behave this way" and 5 representing "I often behave this way." This measure was adapted to determine prevalence of tactics directed toward specific targets (superiors, peers, and support staff). Sample items included "Let--know you can make things difficult for them if they push you too far" and "Use intimidation to get--to behave appropriately." Item responses to all three targets were aggregated to determine an individual's overall prevalence of this behavior. Prevalence of use of a tactic (aggregated for all targets) was conceptualized as an important indicator of frequency of tactic use toward multiple targets rather than the strategic use of a particular tactic used toward a particular target.

Exemplification usage. Exemplification usage was measured with Bolino and Turnley's (1999) four-item measure ([alpha] = 0.90), with the same response scale from 1 to 5 as was used to measure intimidation usage. Sample items include "Stay at work late so--will know you are hard-working" and "Try to appear busy to--, even at times when things are slower," and responses were averaged to all three targets of superiors, peers, and support staff.

Intimidation culture. Intimidation culture was measured with two items (a = 0.74) specially developed for this study based on the work of Bolino and Turnley (1999). The two items to measure a culture of intimidation are "Employees in this organization use force and intimidation to get what they want" and "Employees in this organization are aggressive or forceful if others get in their way." The response anchors for this scale were 1= Rarely to 5= Very often. The adaptation of the Bolino and Turnley (1999) measure is similar in nature to what Christiansen and colleagues (Christiansen et al., 1997) did, whereby they adapted a political influence measure (Kipnis et al., 1980) in order to measure climate or the actions of others.

Exemplification culture. As with intimidation culture, this measure was also measured with two items ([alpha] = 0.71) specially developed from this study and based on the work by Bolino and Turnley (1999). The two items are "Employees in this organization stay late and appear busy even when things may be slow" and "Employees in this organization try to look dedicated to the company by arriving early and staying late, even if it is not absolutely necessary." The response anchors for this scale were 1 = Rarely to 5= Very often.

Job Satisfaction. Job satisfaction was measured with the three-item (a = 0.86) scale from Cook, Hepworth, Wall, and Warr (1981). A sample item was "All in all, I am satisfied with my job." The response scale ranged from 1 ("strongly disagree") to 7 ("strongly agree").

Burnout. Employee burnout was measured with Shirom and Melamed's (2006) 14item scale ([alpha] = 0.94). A sample was "I feel burned out." The response scale is 1 representing "never or almost never" and 7 "always or almost always" feel this way at work.

Job Strain. House and Rizzo's (1972) seven-item scale ([alpha] = 0.84) was used to measure job strain. A sample item was "I work under a great deal of tension." The response scale ranged from 1 to 7, with 1 representing "strongly disagree" and 7 representing "strongly agree."

Control Variables

Gender (coded l=male, 2 = female), age in years, organizational tenure in years, and hours worked per week were included as control variables based on their previously found impacts on this study's dependent variables (e.g., Antoniou et al., 2006).

Analysis Technique

Hierarchical moderated regression analyses were used to test the hypotheses. Since each individual acted as an informant for their organization, this study was unable to obtain second-level data or conduct cross-level analyses. Three separate analyses, one for each of the outcome variables, were conducted. In the first step the control variables were entered. The centered IM culture (either intimidation or exemplification) and IM usage terms were entered in step 2. In the third step, the interaction terms between the same IM usage and IM culture variables (e.g., intimidation culture*intimidation usage and exemplification culture*exemplification usage) were entered. [Note that other researchers have created a compatibility index to measure fit (e.g., Kipnis et al., 1980), whereas this study utilized the interaction term as a measure of fit.]


Table 1 provides the means, standard deviations, and intercorrelations between the variables in this study. As can be seen in Table 1, the IM behaviors and cultures are not significantly related to job satisfaction but are to job burnout and job strains. Table 2 provides the hierarchical moderated regression analysis results. The final step in the analyses, which included all main effects and the interactions, was used to determine support for the hypotheses. Turning first to the main effect results, as shown in Table 2, intimidation usage was not significantly related to job satisfaction but was related to burnout ([beta] = 0.33, p < 0.01) and job strain ([beta] = 0.17, p < 0.10, a marginal significance level). These results provide no support for Hypothesis la, but do support Hypotheses 1b and 1c. Surprisingly, exemplification usage was not significantly related to any outcomes, thus failing to support Hypotheses 2a, 2b, and 2c. Intimidation culture was significantly associated with job satisfaction [beta] = -0.06, p < 0.10, a marginal significance level), burnout [beta] = 0.08, p < 0.10, a marginal significance level), and job strain [beta] = 0.32, p < 0.01), all in the predicted directions. These results provide support for Hypotheses 3a, 3b, and 3c. Exemplification culture was not related to job satisfaction but was significantly associated with burnout [beta] = 0.16, p < 0.05) and job strain [beta] = 0.18, p < 0.05). These results fail to support Hypothesis 4a but do provide support for Hypotheses 4b and 4c.

The interaction results reveal that the intimidation usage-intimidation culture interaction was significantly related to job satisfaction [beta] = 0.10, p < 0.05) but not burnout and job strain. Thus, Hypotheses 5b and 5c were not supported. To determine support for the significant intimidation interaction, the results were graphed by plotting two lines, one each at one standard deviation above and below the mean. Figure I illustrates the intimidation usage-intimidation culture interaction and shows that the negative intimidation usage-job satisfaction association was strongest when intimidation culture was lowest, and that the best outcomes occurred when there was a match with intimidation usage [i.e., low-low (low intimidation culture-low intimidation usage) or high-high]. Additionally, simple slopes analyses revealed slopes significantly different from zero (low moderator: t-value = 2.61, high moderator: t-value = 2.79). Thus, Hypothesis 5a was supported.

The interaction findings between exemplification usage and exemplification culture were significantly related to job satisfaction [beta] = 0.07, p < 0.10, a marginal significance level, simple slopes: high moderator = not significant, low moderator t-value of 4.78), burnout [beta] = 0.17, p < 0.05, simple slopes: high moderator t-value of 3.67, low moderator = not significant), and job strain [beta] = 0.13, p < 0.10, a marginal significance level, simple slopes: high moderator t-value of 3.40, low moderator = not [beta]significant). Figures II-IV illustrate these significant interactions and, as can be seen, the best outcomes (high job satisfaction and low burnout and strain) occurred when exemplification culture and exemplification usage were both low. These findings for the low-low combinations are in line with the hypotheses. However, the Findings are different when both exemplification culture and usage are high. In particular, the outcomes are bad (worst for burnout and strain), and instead of this study's (supplementary) fit-based predictions there is almost an intensification effect. In total, these findings only partially support Hypotheses 6a-6c as the low-low combinations were in line with this study's predictions but not the high-high combinations.


The findings from this study help to shed light on the relationships between the IM tactics of exemplification and intimidation, and the outcomes of burnout, strain, and job satisfaction. These findings build on the extant research as they show that intimidation usage is positively related to burnout and job strain, and that cultures where exemplification and intimidation are commonplace are likely to be associated with higher levels of employee burnout and strain, and lower levels of job satisfaction. Based on COR theory, employees who engage in intimidation, or who perceive their cultures as high in intimidation and exemplification behaviors, are likely to perceive potential threats to their resources. A culture of intimidation is similar to bullying behaviors and observers have been shown to feel the residual effects of such behaviors (Bolino and Turnley, 1999). Furthermore, when a workplace culture has employees who are using exemplification, the environment may be viewed as competitive, making observers look inferior thus threatening their resources. Although this study found IM was associated with undesirable outcomes, the findings are not meant to imply that there are not positives that come with IM behaviors. Often times IM (e.g., exemplification or putting on a "customer service" face) is related to higher performance and the achievement of organizational goals. As such, managers should be aware that IM behaviors come with both advantages and drawbacks.

The interaction findings have theoretical and managerial implications as well. In particular, the highest levels of job satisfaction resulted when both the culture and employee usage of the IM tactic were low. Thus, it is not enough that employees themselves not engage in either intimidation or exemplification, but they need to also view the organizational cultural norms as being low in those same behaviors.

These results were expected, but the results when IM cultures and usage were both high were quite surprising. In particular, for the exemplification interactions, the most negative burnout and strain outcomes resulted when employees engaged in the behaviors and thought it was commonplace in the workplace. As opposed to supplemental fit predictions, it seems that for these interactions the variables are intensifying the negative outcomes associated with either of them independently. It may be that in cultures where exemplification is the norm, for those individuals who also engage in the behavior, they experience even greater pressures and stress-related reactions. In essence, they are "playing the game," which ups the ante and causes resource drains due to their need to "act" in a more acceptable or compatible manner. Furthermore, one may hypothesize that because others are also trying to stand out and exemplify, those engaging in the behavior are not achieving their intended results. This argument is in line with COR theory as the expenditure of resources does not result in the expected benefits (Hobfoll, 1989). Alternatively, for those individuals in cultures where exemplification is the norm but who choose to not engage in the behavior, they experience less pressure (and resulting outcomes) as they "aren't playing the game." Needless to say, these are only post hoc explanations that warrant future empirical examination.

Practical Applications

The results of this study have practical applications as well. This study found that organizational cultures where exemplification or intimidation are the norm are associated with job burnout and job strains. To the best of the authors' knowledge this is the first study on how IM cultures are related to these outcomes, and the findings point to the fact that managers need to take efforts to make sure these kinds of behaviors are not viewed as the organizational status quo. Managers can accomplish this by rewarding objective output and not exemplification behaviors, and making sure intimidation is not rewarded (or ignored), but that it is punished.

Another finding was that employees' usage of exemplification and intimidation was related to burnout and job strains. Thus, managers and employees need to be aware that these behaviors might have negative outcomes at the individual level. In general, individuals engage in these IM tactics because they believe they will have positive outcomes (such as better performance, rewards, or increased liking), but employees should be conscious that these behaviors might result in higher levels of burnout and job strains. Similar to research on emotional labor (Brotheridge and Grandey, 2002), energy and other resources are being expended that may not lead to the desired results, particularly if one's behaviors are blending in rather than standing out. Finally, managers need to be aware that in cultures where exemplification and intimidation are the norm, as it sometimes is, that certain employees (e.g., those that engage in either more or less exemplification and intimidation) experience negative outcomes more intensely. Thus, managers might make staffing decisions so that personalities align with the cultural environments where they are being assigned, or managers can work to change behaviors, which might be easier to accomplish and have longer-lasting results.

Limitations and Directions for Future Research

Although this study has strengths and practical implications, there are limitations that need to be acknowledged. First, all of the data were self-report data, which made it impossible to conduct cross-level analysis, and which could increase the concerns related to common method variance (CMV). However, the moderate correlations found suggest CMV may have had minimal impact on this study's results (Spector, 2006) and CMV should not increase the likelihood of finding significant interactions (Evans, 1985). Similarly, this study does not include an objective measure of fit (e.g., other reports of fit) or a subjective measure of fit (e.g., an attitude statement of one's own perception of P-O fit) (Kristof, 1996). Future research should measure fit explicitly and study it as a mediator in the relationship between organizational culture, individual behaviors, and relevant workplace or intrapsychic outcomes. Related to CMV and single source data, the results cannot provide complete assurance about the direction of causality. For example, other studies have suggested more reciprocal relationships between job strain and intimidation (Gallagher et al., 2008).

A second limitation was the new and short measures of intimidation and exemplification cultures. Future research that extends this study's results and develops validated measures of these constructs by tapping into a broader range of items to represent the concepts would be insightful. A third potential limitation was that this study aggregated IMs that were used toward all organizational representatives (peers, superiors, and subordinates). This approach allowed the authors to examine the propensity of usage and IM usage overall, which was the focus of this study. However, future research that looks at not only the IM tactics but also to whom (the focus or target), why (the purpose), and even the when (early in the relationship, before performance appraisals, during a big project, etc.) of those IM behaviors would be insightful. Similarly, future research should explore intentional (conscious) versus subconscious use of IM behaviors, given that the authors have argued that acting is resource draining (e.g., Vohs et al., 2005). It is somewhat unclear in the Bolino and Turnley (1999) measure if these IM behaviors are in fact actions, which may be intentional or subconscious, that are against one's natural tendencies and thereby resource draining.

The findings from this research effort also suggest a number of other directions for future inquiry. One would be to examine additional outcomes that would extend the nomological network related to IM beyond the performance and career-success outcomes. Another idea for future research would be to investigate this study's relationships in different national cultures. This study found support for a number of its hypotheses in a sample of Brazilian employees, but it might be that Brazil has different national cultural attributes (e.g., individualism vs. collectivism, power distance) than other countries (Johnson et al., 2005; Pearson and Stephan, 1998). In particular, Brazil is high in collectivism and power distance, which could lead to differential levels of impression management culture and behaviors at the workplace (e.g., collectivist cultures may engage in less intimidation towards coworkers).

This study explored the concept of supplementary fit--the notion of homogeneous, shared common qualities (Kristof, 1996). However, future research should explore complementary fit. For example, one could study a culture of exemplification and how this might interact with an individual's usage of supplication. Persons who supplicate when others are exemplifying would be "giving way" to those who are more competitive. This complementary behavior could hypothetically result in lower job strains, lower burnout, and higher job satisfaction. Similarly, the same could be argued for intimidating cultures. Individuals who are not comfortable with this intimidation may supplicate (to stay out of the way and let others perceive them as weak) or lower their usage of self-promotion (to stay under the radar), thereby lowering their job strain, burnout, and enhancing job satisfaction. Future researchers are encouraged to investigate these complementary fit arguments.

Finally, there are questions related to whether different personality (e.g., political skill or core self-evaluations) and situational variables might moderate the two-way interactions found in this study. It might be the case that individuals who are higher in political skill or core self-evaluations, may have personal resources available to them which better allow them to successfully engage in IM and/or experience less adverse effects in cultures where IM is the norm. The authors encourage researchers to investigate these questions in future research efforts.


This study examined the impact of organizational cultural norms and employee usage of two IM tactics, intimidation and exemplification, on attitudinal and stress-related outcomes. The study's results showed independent and interactive effects and pointed to the importance of looking at how IM is associated with job consequences. Although this study answers a number of questions, it elicits others that future researchers can examine in an effort to extend this study's results and better determine the complex nature of the relationships between these variables.


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Kenneth J. Harris

Associate Professor of Management

Indiana University Southeast

Vickie C. Gallagher

Associate Professor of Management & Labor Relations

Cleveland State University

Ana Maria Rossi

Clinic of Stress and Biofeedback

International Stress Management Association--Brazil

Table 1
Means, Standard Deviations, and Correlations among the Study

Variable               Mean     SD         1           2          3

1. Job Satisfaction    4.20    0.70    --
2. Burnout             2.70    1.11    -0.14 *    --
3. Job Strain          3.70    1.27    -0.15 **    0.61 **    --
4. Intimidation        2.40    1.06    -0.11       0.17 **    0.33 **
5. Exemplification     2.50    1.00    -0.04       0.15**     0.20 **
6. Intimidation        1.85    0.67    -0.09       0.25 **    0.20 **
7. Exemplification     1.75    0.72    -0.08       0.20 **    0.16 **
8. Gender              1.52    0.50     0.02       0.01       0.00
9. Age                36.76    7.58    -0.03      -0.04      -0.04
10. Organizational     9.21    7.19    -0.01      -0.04      -0.03
11. Hours Worked      46.34    6.57    -0.02      -0.01       0.11
    Per Week

Variable                 4          5           6         7

1. Job Satisfaction
2. Burnout
3. Job Strain
4. Intimidation       --
5. Exemplification    0.18 **    --
6. Intimidation       0.30 **     0.05      --
7. Exemplification    0.16 **     0.15 **    0.56 **   --
8. Gender             0.04       -0.09      -0.15 **   -0.11
9. Age                0.01       -0.10       0.01      -0.08
10. Organizational    0.03       -0.13 *     0.02      -0.01
11. Hours Worked      0.09        0.18 **    0.09      -0.03
    Per Week

Variable                 8          9       10

1. Job Satisfaction
2. Burnout
3. Job Strain
4. Intimidation
5. Exemplification
6. Intimidation
7. Exemplification
8. Gender             --
9. Age                -0.20 **   --
10. Organizational    -0.12 *     0.69 **  --
11. Hours Worked      -0.03      -0.02     -0.07
    Per Week

N = 319. * p < 0.05. ** p <0.01.

Table 2
Hierarchical Moderated Regression Analyses between IM Usage and
IM Cultures

                              DV = Job Satisfaction

Variables                    Step 1   Step 2   Step 3

  Hours Worked/Week          0.00      0.00     0.00
  Age                        0.00     -0.01    -0.01
  Gender                     0.02      0.03     0.01
  Organizational Tenure      0.00      0.00     0.01
Main effects
  Intimidation Usage (A)              -0.05    -0.05
  Exemplification Usage (B)           -0.05    -0.06
  Intimidation Culture (C)            -0.05    -
  Exemplific. Culture (D)             -0.02    -0.01
2-way Interactions
F-change                     0.13      1.34     3.56
Total F                      0.13      0.74     1.31
[DELTA][R.sup.2]             0.00      0.02     0.02
[R.sup.2]                    0.00      0.02     0.04

                             DV = Burnout
Variables                    Step 1  Step 2            Step 3

  Hours Worked/Week          0.00    -0.01             -0.01
  Age                        0.00     0.00             0.00
  Gender                     0.00     0.10             0.11
  Organizational Tenure      0.00    -0.01             -0.01
Main effects
  Intimidation Usage (A)
  Exemplification Usage (B)           0.10              0.07
  Intimidation Culture (C)            0.09 ([dagger])   0.08 ([dagger])
  Exemplific. Culture (D)             0.14 *            0.16 *
2-way Interactions
  A*C                                                  -0.02
  B*D                                                   0.17 *
F-change                     0.13    7.80               2.19
Total F                      0.13    3.97               3.64
[DELTA][R.sup.2]             0.00    0.09               0.02
[R.sup.2]                    0.00    0.09               0.11

                             DV = Job Strain
Variables                    Step 1  Step 2

  Hours Worked/Week          0.02 *  0.01
  Age                        -0.01   0.00
  Gender                     0.00    0.06
  Organizational Tenure      0.00    0.00
Main effects
  Intimidation Usage (A)             0.17 ([dagger])
  Exemplification Usage (B)          0.08
  Intimidation Culture (C)           0.32 *
  Exemplific. Culture (D)            0.17 *
2-way Interactions
F-change                     0.96    12.36
Total F                      0.96    6.73
[DELTA][R.sup.2]             0.01    0.14
[R.sup.2]                    0.01    0.15

                             DV = Job Strain
Variables                    Step 3

  Hours Worked/Week          -0.01              0.01
  Age                        0.00               0.00
  Gender                     0.11               0.07
  Organizational Tenure      -0.01             -0.00
Main effects
  Intimidation Usage (A)     0.18 ([dagger])
  Exemplification Usage (B)   0.0              70.06
  Intimidation Culture (C)    0.08 ([dagger])  0.32 *
  Exemplific. Culture (D)     0.16 *           0.18 *
2-way Interactions
  A*C                        -0.02             -0.03
  B*D                         0.17 *           0.13
F-change                      2.19             0.99
Total F                       3.64             5.58
[DELTA][R.sup.2]              0.02             0.01
[R.sup.2]                     0.11             0.16

N = 319. ([dagger]) p < 0.10. * p < 0.05. ** p < 0.01. Note:
Exemplific. = Exemplification. Unstandardized reeression
coefficients are provided.
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Author:Harris, Kenneth J.; Gallagher, Vickie C.; Rossi, Ana Maria
Publication:Journal of Managerial Issues
Geographic Code:3BRAZ
Date:Jun 22, 2013
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