Propensity to Initiate Negotiations: A New Look at Gender Variation in Negotiation Behavior
IACM 15th Annual Conference
Posted: 15 Apr 2002
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.
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