Master of Arts (MA)
Faculty of Arts
As municipalities adapt to the climate crisis through mitigation and adaptation strategies it is important that all citizens are meaningfully included in local-level planning and decision-making. Authentic, long-term relationships need to be built between municipal actors and citizens so that municipal development benefits all citizens and is informed by a diverse array of perspectives that truly represents the local context and those within it. There are, however, barriers to fostering genuine relationships and meaningful engagement between municipal governments and their citizens; one such barrier is ‘organizational impression management’ – that is, presenting an ideal or overly positive impression of the municipality to the public, especially when this impression is discrepant from reality. This exploratory study used one-on-one semi-structured interviews to examine strategies of organizational impression management used by municipal employees when engaging with the public, as well as to explore their overall perceptions and experiences navigating impressions for their municipal employer. Participants’ perceptions and experiences varied greatly and were influenced by an array of internal or individual factors, as well as the structural operations and features of the municipal institution itself. Findings provide preliminary support to suggest individual acts of impression management between employees and constituents could be a barrier to meaningful engagement, especially when the impression management is disingenuous. Further research is needed to better understand how organizational impression management can be overcome or mitigated, thus removing a potential barrier to meaningful engagement processes.
Bevan, Alicia, "Impression Management Among Municipal Employees as a Barrier to Engagement: An Explorative Study" (2022). Theses and Dissertations (Comprehensive). 2501.