Each person selects various cues that influence his perceptions of people, objects, and symbols. Because of these factors and their potential imbalance, people often misperceive another person, group, or object. To a considerable extent, people interpret the behavior of others in the context of the setting in which they find themselves.
Research has shown that managers and direct reports often have different perceptions of the same events as illustrated in Table 1 (Allen, Plotnick, 2001). Managers and direct reports both act based on their perceptions, regardless of their accuracy. And that can create problems.
Most people want to make favorable perceptions on others. This is particularly true in organizations, where individuals compete for jobs, favorable performance evaluations, and salary increases. The process by which individuals try to control the perceptions others have of them is called perception management. Individuals use several techniques to control others' perceptions of them (Schein, 1990).
Some employees may engage in perception management to intentionally look bad at work. Methods for creating a poor perception include decreasing performance, not working to one's potential, skipping work, displaying a bad attitude, or broadcasting one's limitations.
Why would someone try to look bad to others Sometimes employees want to avoid additional work or a particular task. They may try to look bad in hopes of being laid off, or they may create poor perceptions in order to get attention.
Perception management seems to have an impact on others' perceptions. As long as the perceptions conveyed are accurate, this process can be a beneficial one in organizations. If the perceptions are found to be false, however, a strongly negative overall perception may result. Further, excessive perception management can lead to the perception that the user is manipulative or