The effects of traited and situational impression management
on a personality test: an empirical analysis
MICHAEL S. HENRY & NAMBURY S. RAJU
Studies examining impression management (IM) in self-report measures typically assume that impression management is either a 1) trait or 2) situational variable, which has led to often conflicting results (Stark, Chernyshenko, Chan, Lee and Drasgow. 2001). This study examined the item-level and scale-level responses on six empirically-derived facets of conscientiousness from the California Psychological Inventory (CPI) between high and low IM groups. Subjects (N = 6,220) were participants in a management assessment conducted by an external consulting firm. Subjects participated in the assessment as part of either 1) a selection or promotional process, or 2) a feedback and development process, and two specific occupational groups (sales/marketing and accounting/finance) were examined. Using the IRT-based DFIT framework (Raju, Van der Linden & Fleer, 1995), the item-level and scale-level differences were examined for the situational IM and traited IM approaches. The results indicated that relatively little DIF/DTF was present and that the differences between the two approaches to examining IM may not be as great as previously suggested.
Key words: social desirability, impression management, personality test
Michael S. Henry
Stanard & Associates, Inc.
309 W. Washington, Suite 1000
Chicago, IL, 60606