Managing impressions with information technology Conference

Marakas, GM, Robey, D. (1994). Managing impressions with information technology . 15-22.

cited authors

  • Marakas, GM; Robey, D



  • The purpose of this paper is to apply a recently developed theory from the study of organizational behavior -- impression management -- to the productivity paradox. We argue that information technology has symbolic consequences and that it is acquired in part as a means for an organization's members to manage impressions they make on peers, customers, competitors, and others. We trace the origins of impression management theory, articulating its basic constructs and propositions, and show how it may be applied in organizational settings. We apply the logic of impression management to explain the patterns of acquisition and deployment of IT in three distinct periods of time: (1) the glass-house era (circa 1960-1980), (2) the desktop era (1980-1990), and (3) the current era of the boundaryless organization. We conclude the paper by discussing the relationship between economic and symbolic explanations of IT investment arguing that, by creating positive impressions, members of an organization may produce economic returns on its investments in IT that are not directly associated with standard economic analyses.

publication date

  • January 1, 1994

International Standard Book Number (ISBN) 10

start page

  • 15

end page

  • 22