Constraints and Triggers: Situational Mechanics of Gender in Negotiation

64 Pages Posted: 9 Nov 2005

See all articles by Hannah Riley Bowles

Hannah Riley Bowles

Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS)

Linda Babcock

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

Kathleen McGinn

Harvard Business School - Negotiation, Organizations & Markets Unit

Date Written: September 2005

Abstract

Authors propose two categories of situational moderators of gender in negotiation: situational ambiguity and gender triggers. Reducing the degree of situational ambiguity constrains the influence of gender on negotiation. Gender triggers prompt divergent behavioral responses as a function of gender. Field and lab studies (1 and 2) demonstrate that decreased ambiguity in the economic structure of a negotiation (structural ambiguity) reduces gender effects on negotiation performance. Study 3 shows representation role (negotiating for self or other) functions as a gender trigger by producing a greater effect on female than male negotiation performance. Study 4 shows decreased structural ambiguity constrains gender effects of representation role, suggesting situational ambiguity and gender triggers work in interaction to moderate gender effects on negotiation performance. (This paper is a revision of RWP02-037.)

Keywords: Leadership/Conflict Management, gender, negotiation, situation, ambiguity, representation

Suggested Citation

Bowles, Hannah Riley and Babcock, Linda C. and McGinn, Kathleen L., Constraints and Triggers: Situational Mechanics of Gender in Negotiation (September 2005). KSG Working Paper No. RWP05-051. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=832626 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.832626

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)

Kathleen L. McGinn

Harvard Business School - Negotiation, Organizations & Markets Unit ( email )

Soldiers Field
Boston, MA 02163
United States
617-495-6901 (Phone)
617-496-7379 (Fax)

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