Looking Good and Doing Good: Family to Work Spillover Through Impression Management

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Journal of Managerial Psychology






Emerald Publishing Limited

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Purpose The purpose of this paper is to examine the role of four impression management (IM) tactics as mediators to help job incumbents manage the impressions others have regarding the spillover of the incumbent’s family domain onto the work domain. Design/methodology/approach The authors examined the data from 296 matched job incumbents and coworkers. The authors tested a structural equation model and alternative models to find the best fit and subsequently tested both direct and indirect effects. Findings The authors found that family-to-work conflict related to job-focused and supervisor-focused IM behaviors, and family-to-work enrichment related to self-focused, coworker-focused and supervisor-focused IM behaviors. Supervisor-focused IM served as a mediator to the job incumbent’s attitude (job satisfaction) while job-focused, self-focused and coworker-focused IM served as mediators to the job incumbent’s behavior (job performance). Practical implications The research is important in that just as employees do not “leave work at the office,” they also do not “leave family at home.” Instead, experiences in the two domains affect one another in ways that are beneficial and harmful. Understanding the role that IM plays in this process adds insight into the spillover of family onto work. Originality/value The authors extend both the work-family and IM literatures by looking at potential family domain antecedents to engaging in IM behaviors and their impact on work life.

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