University of Twente Student Theses


Impression management techniques of pharmaceutical companies on Instagram

Willecke, C. (2020) Impression management techniques of pharmaceutical companies on Instagram.

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Abstract:This study explores how pharmaceutical companies create their desired impression by examining to which extent and how they use impression management techniques on their corporate Instagram accounts. By conducting a qualitative content analysis, 600 Instagram posts published by 15 pharmaceutical companies were analyzed in this thesis. The results reveal that pharmaceutical companies use a variety of impression management techniques in all of their Instagram posts. On average, the most frequently used technique is exemplification, followed by ingratiation, self-promotion, emotionalization and, lastly, supplication. The content analysis has also shown that the companies frequently combine certain impression management strategies such as exemplification and self-promotion or emotionalization and supplication. The results, moreover, reveal that storytelling and content about corporate social responsibility/corporate citizenship activities are regularly used in combination with the techniques to strengthen the impression the companies want to make. Through implementing their strategies, the corporations aim at making and upkeeping the impression of being committed, likeable, competent and strong actors within the pharmaceutical industry and beyond. They do so by highlighting the positive aspects of their businesses and practices while not addressing any scandals or controversial topics that could potentially jeopardize the positive impression they want their stakeholders to have of them.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:05 communication studies
Programme:Communication Studies MSc (60713)
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