ORIENTATION : Impression management tactics are utilised differently by people depending on
the situation and the others around them.
RESEARCH PURPOSE : The purpose of the study was to identify the impression management
tactics Zulu people display when they want to impress people in a work context.
MOTIVATION FOR THE STUDY : Organisations are competing for talented employees and people
who contribute to the return on investment for the organisation. Individuals display impression
tactics to influence the perceptions of others in the workplace, especially pertaining to
performance appraisals and promotional opportunities.
RESEARCH APPROACH, DEIGN AND METHOD : The social constructivism paradigm was employed
in conducting this study, following a phenomenological approach. The research sample
consisted of 30 Zulu-speaking individuals from various organisations who were interviewed
through semi-structured interviews. The researcher used thematic analysis to analyse the data.
MAIN FINDINGS: The main findings in this study included impression management tactics that
are used by Zulu people when attempting to impress people in the work context. The findings
were divided into different categories (colleagues and supervisor). Conscientiousness,
interpersonal amiability, openness and relational action are the themes that were reported as the
most common impression management features people display at their workplace with
colleagues. Themes that were reported when impressing a supervisor include conscientiousness,
integrity, relational action and skilfulness.
PRACTICAL/MANAGERIAL IMPLICATIONS : This study provides organisations with knowledge on the
impression management tactics utilised by isiZulu employees. The nature of this information enables management to not misinterpret the use of certain tactics and will lead to more
understanding and resilience by organisations and colleagues when working with isiZulu
CONTRIBUTION/VALUE-ADD : This study contributes to the body of knowledge concerning
impression management tactics within the South African context. The findings of this study
might assist management to invent tools that are effective to identify impression management
tactics, not just in the Zulu culture but within numerous other cultures in the South African