Wharton Research Scholars

Document Type

Thesis or dissertation

Date of this Version



We sometimes unintentionally distance ourselves from the people we respect. In a relationship between two individuals of perceived unequal status, what are the behaviors or factors of the person of lower status that distance him or her from the person he or she respects? Impression management is the process by which people control their impressions others form of them (Leary & Kowalski, 1990), and can be a useful theory in explaining this phenomenon; however, it does not explain the entire story. This is one possible instance in which we have high impression motivation but refrain from impression management behavior. This project aims to shed light on the nature and causes of refrainment from impression management behavior despite high impression motivation by exploring the factors that cause people to distance themselves from the people that they respect and perceive to have higher status and power. This research focuses on the distancing factors surrounding the person of the lower status. Data has been collected through one-on-one interviews with people from different backgrounds at different stages of career in diverse organizational contexts.


respect, impression management, relationship, distancing, status

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Business Commons



Date Posted: 09 June 2015