In the textbook Close
Encounters, Chapter two examined how people would communicate their
identities 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 self
that is formed and maintained through actual or imagined interpersonal
agreement about what self is like” (Guerrero, Anderson, and Afifi 24). By
interacting with other people, our identity is formed.  No other acting force is as powerful in
shaping identity as the feedback that you get from another person. From that
feedback, you form a self-image from observing how you personally behave and
interact. An important theory is explained in this chapter. The self-expansion
theory helps explain, “How identity influences the development of close
relationships are first impressions are made” (Guerrero, Anderson, and Afifi
28). There are three main predictions to the self-expansion theory. The first
one is how a person seeks out to expand from themselves to be more than who
they are at that time. The second prediction is that there is only one reason
as to why people enter into relationships thinking it is the opportunity to
expand their own identities. The last prediction is that a relationship can
only succeed depending on its ability of the relationship to expand the two
partners’ experiences and sense of one’s self.

As I was reading chapter two, I caught a sense of the six ethical
issues 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 explained
this as “identity helps us organize various facets into a hierarchical
structure that fluctuates according to context (Schlenker, 1985)” (30).  These particular “facets” vary in the degree
to which they are centrally define who we are as a sense of self. The more
central you are to the definition of self, the more stable you are across our
lifetime and prominent when we present ourselves to others during interaction
(Guerrero, Anderson, and Afifi 30). An example of this who be when you share
information on your social media website. You only share what you want others
to see, thus giving a different impression about yourself to others people
rather than just telling your whole story. Whether it it’s a good or bad story.

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The second issue in identity management is “The feedback we receive
from 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 way
that we see ourselves. Guerrero, Anderson, and Afifi discussed how a notion of
the 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 ourselves
like the one we see when we look in the mirror” (Guerrero, Anderson, and Afifi
31). An example of this issue would be when someone gives you positive feedback
on the way you did your job, you would most likely see yourself as having the ability
to work hard because you were encouraged previously from other people.

The third ethical issue is “Our identities help us interpret
feedback from others” (Guerrero, Anderson, and Afifi 31). This is explained by
Guerrero, Anderson, and Afifi that we are more likely to interpret feedback
from others as consistent with our identity (Swann, 1983; Swam & Read,
1981) (31). An example of this issue would be an extrovert and introvert would
react differently when a certain phrase would be said to them such as “you are
quiet today” (Guerrero, Anderson, and Afifi 31).

The fourth issue in identity management is “Identity incorporates
expectations and guides behavior” (Guerrero, Anderson, and Afifi 32). This
issue focusses on the central characteristic that we would see ourselves
possessing. This would create social expectations for our behavior. In a way
our identity carries expectations for how people with that identity would
typically behave.  You have to behave in
a certain manner to be able to live up to that identity. An example would be if
you are a person who normally get good grades then that behavior typically
would reflect your identity otherwise it would not be maintained.

The fifth ethical issue is “Identity influences our evaluations of
self” (Guerrero, Anderson, and Afifi 32).  Guerrero, Anderson, and Afifi describe this
issue as ” expectations and behavioral guidelines connected to identity provide
people with comparison points against which to judge their performance, as a
result our identity influences our evaluation of how well or poorly we have
performed” (32). An example of this would be if someone who was an A average
student, would generally get upset if they received a poor grade such as a C.

The six and final ethical issue is “Identity influences the
likelihood of goal achievement”. This issue is described as “achieving goals is
facilitated by the presence of the particular goal. This means that people who
see themselves as a good student are more likely to get better grades because they
see studying and attending class as important behaviors to help maintain their
identities (Guerrero, Anderson, and Afifi 32).  Say you are trying to do better in school and
you 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 are
more likely to succeed in school.

I think depending on the circumstance itself provides the severity
of the techniques that are being used to manage one’s positive identity to identify
whether or not it is unethical or deceptive.  Whether it be a little thing that you are
being deceptive about or something big.  For example, say you tell someone that you
have a 3.6 GPA but really, you have a 2.6 GPA. You are deceiving others by
making it look like your GPA is higher than what it actually is because you
only show people what you them to see not what is actually happening. It can be
harmful to fabricate your identity in some cases when you are on social media
and you start talking to another person on the internet. You have no clue who
they actually are, only what they want you to see. They could be a completely
different person rather than what they were portraying on their site. Sexual
predators could also use this method as an unethical way of preying on younger
children. This is a major issue in today’s society and it is affecting more
people than you think.  Identity
manipulation can easily go all wrong depending how far you go with altering
yourself. Also by trying to maintain a positive identity, you can sometimes be
deceptive by trying to act as if you are okay when indeed you are not.

After evaluating Chapter two of Close
Encounters in this reflection paper,
you are able to have a better understanding of the six identified ethical
issues in identity management. You are also able to understand how the
circumstances of the techniques used to manage a positive identity can turn out
to be unethical or deceptive depending on how the technique is being use and
what circumstance is it exactly.


Works Cited

Guerrrero, Laura, Anderson, Peter, and Afifi, Walid. Close Encounters: Communication in
Relationships. 3rd ed., Sage Publications, Inc., 2011.


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