In the textbook CloseEncounters, Chapter two examined how people would communicate theiridentities to manage them in social interaction. Identity can be defined as”The person we think we are and communicate to others. It is the theory of selfthat is formed and maintained through actual or imagined interpersonalagreement about what self is like” (Guerrero, Anderson, and Afifi 24). Byinteracting with other people, our identity is formed. No other acting force is as powerful inshaping identity as the feedback that you get from another person. From thatfeedback, you form a self-image from observing how you personally behave andinteract. An important theory is explained in this chapter.
The self-expansiontheory helps explain, “How identity influences the development of closerelationships are first impressions are made” (Guerrero, Anderson, and Afifi28). There are three main predictions to the self-expansion theory. The firstone is how a person seeks out to expand from themselves to be more than whothey are at that time. The second prediction is that there is only one reasonas to why people enter into relationships thinking it is the opportunity toexpand their own identities. The last prediction is that a relationship canonly succeed depending on its ability of the relationship to expand the twopartners’ experiences and sense of one’s self. As I was reading chapter two, I caught a sense of the six ethicalissues in identity management. The first issue in identity management is that”Our identities provide us with a hierarchical structure of who we are”(Guerrero, Anderson, and Afifi 30).
Guerrero, Anderson, and Afifi explainedthis as “identity helps us organize various facets into a hierarchicalstructure that fluctuates according to context (Schlenker, 1985)” (30). These particular “facets” vary in the degreeto which they are centrally define who we are as a sense of self. The morecentral you are to the definition of self, the more stable you are across ourlifetime and prominent when we present ourselves to others during interaction(Guerrero, Anderson, and Afifi 30).
An example of this who be when you shareinformation on your social media website. You only share what you want othersto see, thus giving a different impression about yourself to others peoplerather than just telling your whole story. Whether it it’s a good or bad story.
The second issue in identity management is “The feedback we receivefrom others helps shape our identities” (Guerrero, Anderson, and Afifi 31).This issue is stating that the way a person treat you is reflected in the waythat we see ourselves. Guerrero, Anderson, and Afifi discussed how a notion ofthe Looking-glass self was developed by a man named Charles Cooley in 1922(31).
Charles argued that “social audiences provide us with an image of ourselveslike the one we see when we look in the mirror” (Guerrero, Anderson, and Afifi31). An example of this issue would be when someone gives you positive feedbackon the way you did your job, you would most likely see yourself as having the abilityto work hard because you were encouraged previously from other people. The third ethical issue is “Our identities help us interpretfeedback from others” (Guerrero, Anderson, and Afifi 31). This is explained byGuerrero, Anderson, and Afifi that we are more likely to interpret feedbackfrom others as consistent with our identity (Swann, 1983; Swam & Read,1981) (31). An example of this issue would be an extrovert and introvert wouldreact differently when a certain phrase would be said to them such as “you arequiet today” (Guerrero, Anderson, and Afifi 31). The fourth issue in identity management is “Identity incorporatesexpectations and guides behavior” (Guerrero, Anderson, and Afifi 32). Thisissue focusses on the central characteristic that we would see ourselvespossessing.
This would create social expectations for our behavior. In a wayour identity carries expectations for how people with that identity wouldtypically behave. You have to behave ina certain manner to be able to live up to that identity. An example would be ifyou are a person who normally get good grades then that behavior typicallywould reflect your identity otherwise it would not be maintained.The fifth ethical issue is “Identity influences our evaluations ofself” (Guerrero, Anderson, and Afifi 32). Guerrero, Anderson, and Afifi describe thisissue as ” expectations and behavioral guidelines connected to identity providepeople with comparison points against which to judge their performance, as aresult our identity influences our evaluation of how well or poorly we haveperformed” (32). An example of this would be if someone who was an A averagestudent, would generally get upset if they received a poor grade such as a C.
The six and final ethical issue is “Identity influences thelikelihood of goal achievement”. This issue is described as “achieving goals isfacilitated by the presence of the particular goal. This means that people whosee themselves as a good student are more likely to get better grades because theysee studying and attending class as important behaviors to help maintain theiridentities (Guerrero, Anderson, and Afifi 32). Say you are trying to do better in school andyou want to be more organized.
If you start acting upon this by studying more,keeping your room and books organized, and exceeding deadlines, then you aremore likely to succeed in school.I think depending on the circumstance itself provides the severityof the techniques that are being used to manage one’s positive identity to identifywhether or not it is unethical or deceptive. Whether it be a little thing that you arebeing deceptive about or something big. For example, say you tell someone that youhave a 3.6 GPA but really, you have a 2.
6 GPA. You are deceiving others bymaking it look like your GPA is higher than what it actually is because youonly show people what you them to see not what is actually happening. It can beharmful to fabricate your identity in some cases when you are on social mediaand you start talking to another person on the internet. You have no clue whothey actually are, only what they want you to see. They could be a completelydifferent person rather than what they were portraying on their site. Sexualpredators could also use this method as an unethical way of preying on youngerchildren.
This is a major issue in today’s society and it is affecting morepeople than you think. Identitymanipulation can easily go all wrong depending how far you go with alteringyourself. Also by trying to maintain a positive identity, you can sometimes bedeceptive by trying to act as if you are okay when indeed you are not. After evaluating Chapter two of CloseEncounters in this reflection paper,you are able to have a better understanding of the six identified ethicalissues in identity management. You are also able to understand how thecircumstances of the techniques used to manage a positive identity can turn outto be unethical or deceptive depending on how the technique is being use andwhat circumstance is it exactly.
Works CitedGuerrrero, Laura, Anderson, Peter, and Afifi, Walid. Close Encounters: Communication inRelationships. 3rd ed., Sage Publications, Inc., 2011.