Propensity to Initiate Negotiations: A New Look at Gender Variation in Negotiation Behavior

IACM 15th Annual Conference

Posted: 15 Apr 2002  

Linda Babcock

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

Michele Joy Gelfand

University of Maryland

Deborah Small

Carnegie Mellon University - Department of Psychology

Heidi Stayn

Carnegie Mellon University - Department of Social and Decision Sciences

Abstract

Over the last two decades, there has been an upsurge in research in social psychology on the relationships among gender, cognition, and social behavior. Over the same period, studies of gender in negotiation have declined, and the field has largely abandoned the gender variable as an inconsistent predictor of negotiator behavior or performance. In this paper, we argue that the dominant methodological approach to gender has overlooked the very situations in which gender is likely to be most consequential. More specifically, we argue that gender effects are likely to be greatly attenuated in strong situations - those situations that are clearly defined as "negotiations" with explicit issues and the expectation that bargaining will occur - yet will be greatly enhanced in weak situations - those situations in which people must recognize the opportunity to negotiate, and initiate such interactions with others. We then introduce a new construct - the propensity to initiate negotiations - that we argue is highly relevant to many everyday interactions. We then discuss the gendered nature of this construct, and provide empirical evidence that illustrates gender differences in the propensity to initiate negotiations. We explore the psychological processes that mediate such differences, and consistent with a contextual view of gender, close with a discussion of possible moderators of such effects.

Suggested Citation

Babcock, Linda and Gelfand, Michele Joy and Small, Deborah and Stayn, Heidi, Propensity to Initiate Negotiations: A New Look at Gender Variation in Negotiation Behavior. IACM 15th Annual Conference. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=305160

Linda C. Babcock (Contact Author)

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)

Michele Joy Gelfand

University of Maryland ( email )

1142 Biology-Psychology Building
College Park, MD 0742-4411
United States
301 405 6972 (Phone)

Deborah Small

Carnegie Mellon University - Department of Psychology ( email )

Baker Hall 342c
Pittsburgh, PA 15213
United States

Heidi Stayn

Carnegie Mellon University - Department of Social and Decision Sciences ( email )

Pittsburgh, PA 15213-3890
United States

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