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Relational Accounts: An Answer for Women to the Compensation Negotiation Dilemma

  • Bowles, Hannah Riley

    (Harvard U)

  • Babcock, Linda

    (Carnegie Mellon U)

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    Women face a compensation negotiation dilemma in which they have to weigh the economic benefits of asking for higher pay with the social risks of defying prescriptive sex stereotypes (Bowles, Babcock, & Lai, 2007). In four experiments, we show that enhancing the legitimacy of women's compensation requests does not eliminate the social risk of asking, and that eliminating the social risk of asking is not sufficient to legitimize their requests. We identify strategies for overcoming the compensation negotiation dilemma using "relational accounts" that simultaneously explain why the negotiating behavior is appropriate under the circumstances and affirm concern for organizational relationships.

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    Paper provided by Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government in its series Working Paper Series with number rwp08-066.

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    Date of creation: Nov 2008
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    Handle: RePEc:ecl:harjfk:rwp08-066
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    1. Booth, Alison & Jeff Frank & David Blackaby, 2003. "Outside Offers and the Gender Pay Gap: Empirical Evidence from the UK Academic Labour Market," Royal Economic Society Annual Conference 2003 28, Royal Economic Society.
    2. O'Connor, Kathleen M. & Arnold, Josh A., 2001. "Distributive Spirals: Negotiation Impasses and the Moderating Role of Disputant Self-Efficacy," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 84(1), pages 148-176, January.
    3. Tinsley, Catherine H. & O'Connor, Kathleen M. & Sullivan, Brandon A., 2002. "Tough guys finish last: the perils of a distributive reputation," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 88(2), pages 621-642, July.
    4. Blackaby, David & Booth, Alison L & Frank, Jeff, 2002. "Outside Offers and the Gender Pay Gap: Empirical Evidence from the UK," CEPR Discussion Papers 3549, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    5. Bowles, Hannah Riley & Babcock, Linda & McGinn, Kathleen L., 2005. "Constraints and Triggers: Situational Mechanics of Gender in Negotiation," Working Paper Series rwp05-051, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
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