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Gender Bias in Negotiators’ Ethical Decision Making


  • Kray, Laura


What is the relationship between gender and the likelihood of being deceived in negotiations? In strategic interactions, the decision to deceive is based in part on the expected consequences (Gneezy, 2005). Because gender stereotypes suggest that women are more easily misled than men, the expected consequences of deception were predicted to be more positive with negotiators described in stereotypically feminine as opposed to masculine terms. Studies 1A and 1B confirmed that gender stereotypes affect the expected consequences of deception. An archival analysis of MBA classroom data (N = 298) was then conducted to explore the implications of this relationship in a naturalistic setting. Consistent with gender stereotypes, female negotiators were deceived more frequently than male negotiators, though female negotiators perceived no less honesty in their counterparts than did male negotiators. Economic and psychological consequences of deception were also examined, including agreement rates, sale price, and negotiator subjective experience. When believed by their target, lies facilitated deal making. However, psychologically, lying impaired both negotiators’ subjective experience by reducing perceptions of negotiator honesty. By linking gender stereotypes to the expected and actual consequences of deception, the current research extends our understanding of the role of gender in strategic interactions. Finally, how gender shapes experiences in the MBA classroom is discussed.

Suggested Citation

  • Kray, Laura, 2011. "Gender Bias in Negotiators’ Ethical Decision Making," Institute for Research on Labor and Employment, Working Paper Series qt1639379n, Institute of Industrial Relations, UC Berkeley.
  • Handle: RePEc:cdl:indrel:qt1639379n

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Robert H. Frank & Thomas Gilovich & Dennis T. Regan, 1993. "Does Studying Economics Inhibit Cooperation?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 7(2), pages 159-171, Spring.
    2. Ayres, Ian & Siegelman, Peter, 1995. "Race and Gender Discrimination in Bargaining for a New Car," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(3), pages 304-321, June.
    3. Uri Gneezy, 2005. "Deception: The Role of Consequences," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(1), pages 384-394, March.
    4. Kray, Laura J. & Galinsky, Adam D. & Thompson, Leigh, 2002. "Reversing the Gender Gap in Negotiations: An Exploration of Stereotype Regeneration," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 87(2), pages 386-410, March.
    5. Phelps, Edmund S, 1972. "The Statistical Theory of Racism and Sexism," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 62(4), pages 659-661, September.
    6. Dreber, Anna & Johannesson, Magnus, 2008. "Gender differences in deception," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 99(1), pages 197-199, April.
    7. Muriel Niederle & Lise Vesterlund, 2007. "Do Women Shy Away From Competition? Do Men Compete Too Much?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 122(3), pages 1067-1101.
    8. Fiona Morton & Florian Zettelmeyer & Jorge Silva-Risso, 2003. "Consumer Information and Discrimination: Does the Internet Affect the Pricing of New Cars to Women and Minorities?," Quantitative Marketing and Economics (QME), Springer, vol. 1(1), pages 65-92, March.
    9. Bowles, Hannah Riley & Babcock, Linda & Lai, Lei, 2007. "Social incentives for gender differences in the propensity to initiate negotiations: Sometimes it does hurt to ask," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 103(1), pages 84-103, May.
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    Gender; bias; stereotypes; discrimination; negotiation; ethical decision making; deception; person perception; strategic interaction; Business;

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