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What you see is what you get? Bangor academics to research impression management by business organisations

‘Impression management’, or how organisations control the way they are perceived by the public, will be the focus of cutting-edge research undertaken by a new centre at Bangor University.

Impression management has played a significant role in recent corporate scandals such as Enron, WorldCom and Parmalat. Bangor’s Centre for Impression Management in Accounting Communication (CIMAC) will shed light on the techniques used by firms to control their image, thus helping prevent the public from being taken in by ‘spin’.

Placed within the University’s Business School, CIMAC aims to promote, conduct and encourage ground-breaking research into how accounting communication – which includes financial statements, annual reports and websites – can be used to manipulate the public impression of a firm. Although the image conveyed may often be truthful, impression management can be used to promote an organisation’s positive traits whilst concealing those aspects which could prove detrimental to its reputation.

“Impression management is not restricted to large listed firms”, says Dr Doris Merkl-Davies, Deputy Director of CIMAC. “All organisations, including private companies, public sector organisations and charities use ‘spin’ in order to be perceived in a favourable light, which means that impression management is something that affects us all in some way.”

Launching on Friday, 15th of June, this new centre will be led by Professor Lynn Hodgkinson and colleagues Dr Merkl-Davies and Dr Aziz Jaafar.

For further information about CIMAC’s official launch, visit

Publication date: 14 June 2012