Gender stereotypes contradicted when negotiating

August 7, 2008

A common gender stereotype assumes that men are more aggressive and women are more emotional. In negotiation, men are assumed to be more assertive and women better at fostering relationships. However, a new study published in Negotiation and Conflict Management Research reveals that when people are trying to make a positive impression, they may behave in ways that contradict gender stereotypes.

Jared Curhan of MIT's Sloan School of Management and Jennifer Overbeck of the University of Southern California 's Marshall School of Business assigned 190 MBA students to same-sex groups to represent either a high-status recruiter or a low-status job candidate engaged in a standard employment negotiation simulation. Half of the participants were offered an additional cash incentive to make a positive impression on their negotiation counterparts.

When incentivized to make a positive impression on their counterparts, men and women in the high-status role acted in ways that contradicted gender stereotypes. Women negotiated more aggressively and men negotiated in a more appeasing manner. Being motivated to make a positive impression may have cued negotiators to counter whatever negative tendencies they believe others see in them and to thus display a contrasting demeanor.

Women who are motivated to make a positive impression, perhaps in an effort to refute the stereotype that they are weak or ineffective negotiators, may advocate more strongly for their own interests. In contrast, men who are motivated to make a positive impression, perhaps in an effort to refute the stereotype that they are overly aggressive, may yield to the demands of the other side.

The success of the strategies was mixed. Men's strategy of behaving in a more conciliatory fashion apparently succeeded in producing a positive impression in the counterpart's eyes. However, the women's strategy of behaving more assertively failed to create a more positive impression. Instead, women who behaved more assertively, were judged more negatively.

Source: Wiley

Explore further: Workaholism isn't a valid requirement for advancing in science

Related Stories

Healthy humans make nice homes for viruses

September 16, 2014

The same viruses that make us sick can take up residence in and on the human body without provoking a sneeze, cough or other troublesome symptom, according to new research at Washington University School of Medicine in St. ...

Arm swinging reduces the metabolic cost of running

July 18, 2014

Have you ever tried running without swinging your arms? It's not easy. Each step jars and it feels like hard work: but is it? Christopher Arellano, from Brown University, USA, says, 'We know from the literature that arm swinging ...

Even fact will not change first impressions

February 14, 2014

Knowledge is power, yet new research suggests that a person's appearance alone can trump knowledge. First impressions are so powerful that they can override what we are told about people. A new study found that even when ...

Recommended for you

Amateur paleontologist finds rare fossil of fish in Arizona

September 3, 2015

Growing up, Stephanie Leco often would dig in her backyard and imagine finding fossils of a tyrannosaurus rex. She was fascinated with the idea of holding something in her hand that was millions of years old and would give ...

X-rays reveal fossil secrets

September 3, 2015

A sophisticated imaging technique has allowed scientists to virtually peer inside a 10-million-year-old sea urchin, uncovering a treasure trove of hidden fossils.

Early human diet explains our eating habits

August 31, 2015

Much attention is being given to what people ate in the distant past as a guide to what we should eat today. Advocates of the claimed palaeodiet recommend that we should avoid carbohydrates and load our plates with red meat ...

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Decaf
not rated yet Aug 07, 2008
Sad truth.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.