Impression Management across Applicant and Incumbent Contexts: The Effect on Job Performance

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Filipkowski, Jenna Noelle
Department of Psychology; Response Distortion; Faking; Personality; Impression Management; Personnel Selection; Industrial and Organizational Psychology; Psychology; Social and Behavioral Sciences; Department of Psychology; Response Distortion; Faking; Personality; Impression Management; Personnel Selection
thesis / dissertation description
Social desirability (impression management) scales often accompany personality measures in selection to detect those who might be engaging in response distortion. Applicants' personality scores may be corrected or eliminated based on scores from the impression management scale. My studies test the effectiveness and usefulness of having social desirability measures in personnel selection. Study One examined whether social desirability (impression management) scales are able to detect faking behavior. The hypotheses were tested on an archival dataset of participants who took personality measures on two separate occasions as incumbents or applicants. Those identified by the faking indicator, who raised their scores beyond the standard error of measurement difference score, had higher extraversion scores in the applicant administration (M =19.16; SD = 1.83) than as incumbent (M =13.88; SD = 5.27). However, for the non-fakers extraversion scores from when the participants were incumbents are higher (M =19.00; SD = 2.13) than their applicant scores (M =18.21; SD = 3.14). Those identified as non-fakers while incumbents had such high scores that there was no opportunity to improve them and fake. The impression management scale was able to identify fakers on the personality measures who had opportunity to improve their scores. For Study Two, I hypothesized that impression management is a necessary skill for salespeople, thus selecting people out or correcting their personality scores because of it results in worse people hired and lowers organizational performance. Impression management is not a necessary skill for salespeople; impression management does not have a relationship with weekly brokerage dollars (r = -.07, p =.45). Further analyses found that removing applicants or correcting their scores actually improved the job performance of the sample.