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Psychological Perspectives on Gender in Negotiation

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  • Bowles, Hannah Riley

    (Harvard University)

Abstract

A fundamental form of human interaction, negotiation is essential to the management of relationships, the coordination of paid and household labor, the distribution of resources, and the creation of economic value. Understanding the effects of gender on negotiation gives us important insights into how micro-level interactions contribute to larger social phenomena, such as gender gaps in pay and authority. Recent research on gender in negotiation has shown us how gender stereotypes constrain women from negotiating access to resources and opportunities through lowered performance expectations and gendered behavioral constraints. However, this widening research stream is also beginning to provide hints for how individuals and organizations can overcome these limitations to women's negotiation potential. In this chapter, I provide a brief history of psychological research on gender in negotiation, starting with the study of gender-stereotypic personality attributions and transitioning to a more sophisticated analysis of the effects of gender stereotypes on negotiation behaviors and performance. I review contemporary research on gender in negotiation using two interrelated frameworks. The first outlines the ways in which gender stereotypes influence negotiation, the second outlines situational factors that help predict when gender effects are likely to emerge in negotiation. These include ambiguity, which facilitates the emergence of gender effects, and gender triggers, which influence the salience and relevance of gender within the negotiating context. Finally, I highlight practical implications of research on gender in negotiation and point to future research directions that could transform insights about barriers to women's negotiation performance into positive levers for change.

Suggested Citation

  • Bowles, Hannah Riley, 2012. "Psychological Perspectives on Gender in Negotiation," Working Paper Series rwp12-046, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
  • Handle: RePEc:ecl:harjfk:rwp12-046
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Bowles, Hannah Riley & McGinn, Kathleen, 2008. "Gender in Job Negotiations: A Two-Level Game," Working Paper Series rwp08-027, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
    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. 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.
    4. Solnick, Sara J, 2001. "Gender Differences in the Ultimatum Game," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 39(2), pages 189-200, April.
    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.
    6. Walters, Amy E. & Stuhlmacher, Alice F. & Meyer, Lia L., 1998. "Gender and Negotiator Competitiveness: A Meta-analysis," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 76(1), pages 1-29, October.
    7. Catherine C. Eckel & Angela de Oliveira & Philip J. Grossman, 2008. "Gender and Negotiation in the Small: Are Women Perceived to Be More Cooperative than Men?," Monash Economics Working Papers archive-02, Monash University, Department of Economics.
    8. Solnick, Sara J. & Schweitzer, Maurice E., 1999. "The Influence of Physical Attractiveness and Gender on Ultimatum Game Decisions," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 79(3), pages 199-215, September.
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    Cited by:

    1. Ruppert, Andrea & Voigt, Martina, 2014. "Verhandlungsstrategien und Verhandlungstaktiken in Gehaltsverhandlungen," Working Paper Series: Business and Law 06, Frankfurt University of Applied Sciences, Faculty of Business and Law.

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