When Doesn't it Hurt Her to Ask? Framing and Justification Reduce the Social Risks of Initiating Compensation

30 Pages Posted: 15 Dec 2008  

Hannah Riley Bowles

Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS)

Linda Babcock

Carnegie Mellon University - H. John Heinz III School of Public Policy and Management

Date Written: December 14, 2008

Abstract

Previous research shows that initiating compensation negotiations is socially risky for women (Bowles, Babcock, & Lai, 2007). The current research investigates whether there are ways women can ask to minimize these social risks. In three studies, we test impressions created by alternative frames and justifications for initiating compensation negotiations. We identify two strategies for reducing the social risks for women of asking for higher compensation: (1) using a communal frame to communicate concern for relationships and (2) justifying the request with external validation (viz., outside offer). However, findings suggest both strategies are vulnerable to negative interpretation when used in combination. In conclusion, we offer principles but no clear-cut solutions for minimizing the social risks to women of asking for higher pay.

Suggested Citation

Bowles, Hannah Riley and Babcock, Linda, When Doesn't it Hurt Her to Ask? Framing and Justification Reduce the Social Risks of Initiating Compensation (December 14, 2008). IACM 21st Annual Conference Paper. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1316162 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1316162

Hannah Riley Bowles (Contact Author)

Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) ( email )

79 John F. Kennedy Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
617-496-4717 (Phone)
617-496-2850 (Fax)

Linda C. Babcock

Carnegie Mellon University - H. John Heinz III School of Public Policy and Management ( email )

Pittsburgh, PA 15213-3890
United States
412-268-8789 (Phone)
412-268-7036 (Fax)

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