Who Gets to the Bargaining Table? Understanding Gender Variation in the Initiation of Negotiations

26 Pages Posted: 10 Oct 2004

See all articles by Deborah Small

Deborah Small

Carnegie Mellon University - Department of Psychology

Michele Joy Gelfand

University of Maryland

Linda Babcock

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

Hilary Gettman

University of Maryland

Abstract

Unlike typical negotiation experiments, we investigate when people initiate negotiations when there are no overt prescriptions to negotiate. In a novel paradigm, participants played a word game and were subsequently offered the lowest compensation possible by the experimenter. Consistently, women asked the experimenter for greater compensation much less often than men. Situational ambiguity also affected initiation of negotiation: Stronger cues about the negotiability of payment increased rates of asking. Yet, cues to "negotiate" did not lessen the gender gap. We further explored men's and women's perceptions and feelings about negotiating for things compared to asking for things and found negotiating to be more aversive for women than asking. Based on these results, we are currently exploring if cues to "ask" compared to cues to "negotiate" will increase rates of initiating negotiation among women and narrow the gender gap.

Keywords: Negotiation, Gender

JEL Classification: D74

Suggested Citation

Small, Deborah and Gelfand, Michele Joy and Babcock, Linda C. and Gettman, Hilary, Who Gets to the Bargaining Table? Understanding Gender Variation in the Initiation of Negotiations. IACM 17th Annual Conference Paper. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=602783 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.602783

Deborah Small (Contact Author)

Carnegie Mellon University - Department of Psychology ( email )

Baker Hall 342c
Pittsburgh, PA 15213
United States

Michele Joy Gelfand

University of Maryland ( email )

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

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)

Hilary Gettman

University of Maryland

College Park
College Park, MD 20742
United States

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